The dramatic cliff walk, which was originally designed and built over a century ago, has reopened to the public today (Wednesday 19 August 2015).
McLaughlin & Harvey’s restoration works to the coastal trail included the installation of approximately 1km of new path, new hand railings, and 22 individual structures and footbridges, including 2 bridges designed to replicate the famous tubular hoop bridge and suspension bridge which were first designed in 1902.
The original Gobbins Coastal Path was designed by Berkeley Deane Wise for the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway Company as a commercial venture to attract passengers to use their rail link between Belfast and Whitehead, and in its day was more popular than the Giant’s Causeway. However, post-war austerity spelt decline for the 1.5 mile walkway and it was closed to the public in the 1950s.
Groups of 10 to 15 will be guided along the bridges which cling to the cliff face just metres above the sea. Mid and East Antrim Council has big hopes for the attraction and is expecting 50,000 visitors a year.
Tourism Minister Jonathan Bell, who walked the "staggeringly beautiful" path on Tuesday, said, "It is something that you could bring visitors from anywhere in the world to and be very proud of the quality of the tourism offering. Having done it, I think it represents real value for money and puts Northern Ireland with another - and I genuinely mean this - top quality, international tourist destination."