I have dreamed about visiting The Gobbins coastal path ever since it re-opened to the public in 2014 after many years of closure. I finally made it a reality on a beautiful March Sunday morning earlier this year. I and my good friend Charisse drove up to the Antrim coast in my rickety old land rover taking our directions from Google maps. The route proved to be rather circuitous as we were so busy chatting we missed a turn and ended up on an even more scenic route which got us there, eventually.
We first went to the visitor centre where we met our guide Gerald, a mine of the information who was delighted to be working there in a job that he clearly loved. He told us how he’d retired a few years ago and now he spends his time sharing his knowledge of this beautiful part of Northern Ireland with visitors from all over the world.
The Gobbins was originally opened in 1902, the brainchild of Berkeley Dean Wise, a Wexfordian who was light years ahead of his time when it came to engineering a lasting tourist attraction. For many years the great and the good from Belfast made day trips to the Antrim coast dressed in their finery to picnic along the Gobbins trail. It’s not difficult to see why it was so popular then.
The views were truly spectacular as we made our way along the craggy, and at sometimes challenging, cliff path. We were lucky that the weather was beautiful on the day we visited however we were assured that even on wet days when the waves are crashing all around, this walk is a fantastic experience.
We will definitely return in June when the birdlife will be more prolific and I can’t wait to see the puffins, guillemots and razorbills crowding the cliff faces during the breeding season.
For more information or to book a tour contact www.thegobbinscliffpath.com