The Gobbins Coastal Path Reconstruction, Larne

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Civil Engineering

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River & Coastal

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Northern Ireland

Featured Image for The Gobbins Coastal Path, Larne


Larne Borough Council




60 weeks

The original The Gobbins coastal path ran along the base of the cliffs of the scenic Antrim coast.

The path opened in 1901 and became a major attraction with a series of bridges, caverns and winding paths carved into the rock. There were two key landmark bridges, the tubular hoop bridge and the Gordon’s Leap suspension bridge.

Due to the financial position of the railways in the 1930s, The Gobbins became increasingly difficult to maintain and fell into a state of disrepair, made worse during WW2 when the bridges were all painted black (originally white) to avoid them becoming a marker for German bombing raids.

Post-war, the path briefly reopened but was finally closed in 1951 where it continued to decay for the next 60 years with little of the original path remaining.

Design & build

The reconstruction project consisted of the design & build of a series of twenty-three footbridges, and cantilevered walkways forming a 1km long pathway along the base of the 60m high cliff spanning between rock out-crops over the sea.

It follows the original route, utilising the same steps and pathways where possible with upgraded handrailing and minor repairs where necessary, and the iconic bridges have been reconstructed to match the originals.

The project created significant design, H&S and construction challenges, including working at the base of a 60m high cliff with very limited access and exposure to extreme weather, therefore the project required a different approach to be taken than most other construction projects.




metre long tunnel


  • Construction Employers Federation (CEF) Construction Excellence 2015 Finalist for Restoration Award

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