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The Gobbins: 'White-knuckle' path re-opens on Northern Ireland's coast

Callers asked to be patient as booking line is inundated with enquiries

Published 19/08/2015

The spectacular walkway along the Gobbins coastal path at Islandmagee yesterday
The spectacular walkway along the Gobbins coastal path at Islandmagee yesterday
The spectacular walkway along the Gobbins coastal path at Islandmagee yesterday
The spectacular walkway along the Gobbins coastal path at Islandmagee yesterday
The spectacular walkway along the Gobbins coastal path at Islandmagee yesterday
The restored Gobbins cliff path in Co Antrim
The restored Gobbins cliff path in Co Antrim
The restored Gobbins cliff path in Co Antrim
The restored Gobbins cliff path in Co Antrim
The restored Gobbins cliff path in Co Antrim
The spectacular walkway along the Gobbins coastal path at Islandmagee yesterday

Northern Ireland's historic 'Gobbins' coastal path has re-opened after a multi-million pound investment.

The Gobbins, a two-mile-long cliff path first developed in the early 20th century at Islandmagee, was officially re-opened today.

Hailed as a ‘best kept secret’ along the Causeway Coastal Route, the path encompasses tubular and suspension bridges, a carved tunnel and staircases.

40 minutes from Belfast, it is now supported by a visitor centre and guided tours.

Comprising of suspension tubular bridges, caves, steps, and tunnels carved through the spectacular rock face here, Mid and East Antrim Borough’s reimagined treasure has brought what was once a thriving 1900’s hotspot into the 21st century.

Along the trail, visitors will not only enjoy spectacular views of the natural landscape here but get up close to a diverse range of wildlife and gain privileged access to Northern Ireland’s only mainland colony of Puffins alongside various other bird species.

And it seems it may reclaim its title as Northern Ireland’s premier visitor attraction more quickly than expected.

Just hours after it opened to the public this morning, many hundreds of people have been calling the booking line where staff are busy dealing with queries and bookings.

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Speaking early this afternoon, the Gobbin’s Visitor Centre Manager, Alister Bell said: "Staff are working hard to meet the large volume of calls being received.

"This can be frustrating for callers at times, but we would appeal to our clients to bear with us and be patient. They can be assured that the attraction is well worth the effort and suggest that if the number is engaged they call back later today or tomorrow, when things will be less hectic.”

Described as "an engineering masterpiece", the refurbished path provides "an unexpected, white-knuckle walk across one of Ulster’s most dramatic coastlines," according to a statement by Tourism Northern Ireland.

Guided tours that begin with a safety briefing allow visitors to enjoy the coast in a way they have not been able to in over 50 years, it adds, promising "to excite all the senses, and be the closest visitors will get to walking on water."

Built alongside the eroded remains of the original path, the new experience uses modern materials and methods, coupled with the original design ethos.

The visitor centre will tell the story of the path, first conceived of in 1902, as well as the geology and ecology of Islandmagee.

The Gobbins will open daily from 9.30am to 5.30pm, and is not suitable for very young children. Pre-booking is recommended on thegobbinscliffpath.com.

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From Belfast Telegraph