5.4 ton bridge craned in to cliff-hugging Gobbins coastal path near Larne
An iconic tubular bridge section of the Gobbins coastal path was lifted into place today as a £6m restoration of the cliff-hanging tourist attraction in Islandmagee, Co Antrim, nears completion.
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The 5.4-ton bridge, which is 58 metres long and spans a dizzying gap over the waves – was lifted into place by cranes this afternoon.
The Gobbins cliff path, which was built in 1902 and in its heyday attracted more visitors than the Giant’s Causeway, is being reinstated as another major tourism draw for the Province.
It will include vertigo-inducing walks along the beautiful cliffs, a café, interpretation/exhibition space, pre-tour rooms, shop for memorabilia and local crafts, as well as a tourist information point.
Today engineers oversaw the installation of a tube bridge which is expected to be one of the project's most memorable parts.
Half of the £6 million price tag is coming through the EU - managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and administered by the North East Partnership.
Larne Borough Council provided £2m with further funding of £200,000 from the Ulster Garden Villages organisation.
Lorraine McCourt, Director with the Special EU Programmes Body, said: “It is very exciting to see the final pieces of infrastructure being brought into place for the restoration of the Gobbins cliff path.
“This is an important stage in the overall delivery of the Gobbins Sliabh Liag Tourism Development Project, which also involves the delivery of a range of measures to improve and increase access to some of Ireland’s highest sea cliffs in Co. Donegal.”
The cliff path reconstruction has been undertaken by McLaughlin and Harvey. John Glass, a director with the company, said: “The Gobbins path will be an excellent tourist attraction for Northern Ireland.
“We are both proud and excited to be playing a key role in restoring such an iconic structure back into use.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital