Belfast & Northern Ireland

8 Things You Need to Know About The Gobbins

27 Sep 2020
1) The Gobbins was the brainchild of visionary Berkeley Deane Wise, Chief Engineer of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway Company. An early pioneer for tourism, Wise built The Gobbins to encourage people to travel by train to places like Islandmagee.

2) Often regarded as one of the early 20th century’s most striking feats of engineering, The Gobbins was originally opened to the public in 1902. After its closure in 1954, a £7.5m restoration project has seen the coastal walk return to its former glory as one of NI’s top tourist attractions following its grand reopening in 2015.

3) One of The Gobbins’ most unique features is Wise’s Eye – a narrow entrance chiselled through the winding cliffs that gives visitors access to the most visually spectacular stretch of the original coastal path.

4) A giant of the NI tourism industry, Wise’s original tubular bridge for The Gobbins became the destination’s most iconic sight. Unlike the original bridge which was winched into place, the replica was lowered into place in 2014 from the cliff-side some 60 metres above.

5) The tubular bridge stretches 20 metres out from the cliff path leading to the Man O’War stack – an outstanding rock formation aptly named for its striking resemblance to the great battle ships.

6) A scientifically significant site, The Gobbins is rich with biodiversity offering rare access to a rich selection of plants, ferns and grasses as well as NI’s only mainland colony of colourful puffins.

7) The original Gobbins was constructed by railway company employees with no safety training or appropriate safety equipment and clothing compared with today's standards. Despite this, under Wise's watchful eye, there were no recorded injuries during its perilous construction.

8) The ever-intriguing Smuggler’s Cave was once home to Thomas McCartney. Known as a hedge teacher, McCartney taught and slept in barns before settling in Smuggler’s Cave. To the right-hand side of the cave’s entrance is a wall cavity known as the Schoolmaster’s Bedchamber where McCartney lived.

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