THE GOBBINSREIMAGINED

Demise


Hugely popular with visitors, events in the outside world conspired to sabotage the original path at The Gobbins.

The high cost of maintaining it became increasingly unattractive to a railway company whose profits were hit by both the Depression of the 1930s and the increasing popularity of cars.

With no spare manpower available to oversee it, the path was closed during the Second World War and fell into disrepair. In 1951, a section of the path re-opened, under the control of the Ulster Transport Authority. However a major landfall, soon afterwards, made it impossible to venture as far as Gordon's Leap. The path was closed in 1954 and finally abandoned around seven years later.

  • APhoto of the path in disrepair taken in the 1980s.
    Courtesy of the Lennon Family
  • BPoster from 1938, warning people that the path is closed.
    Courtesy of the Lennon Family
  • CThe old Tubular Bridge before it collapsed.
    Courtesy of the Lennon Family

THE GOBBINSREIMAGINED

By the late 1950's, Wise's path had dramatically deteriorated, but there were still many who shared his belief in The Gobbins as a potential world-class attraction.

Many local people worked tirelessly to try and get the path reopened. Antrim County Council, then responsible for the area, planned a major restoration. But, with the Troubles at their height, insufficient funding and concerns about visitor numbers prevented the scheme being realised - there were three further failed attempts. Then in 2011 Larne Borough Council made funds available from ratepayers to add to funding from the European Union's INTERREG IVA Programme, along with support from Ulster Garden Villages Ltd. to make the project a reality. The reimagined path was built in 2014.

Artist's impression of The Swinging Bridge on the new path before it was built.

Courtesy of Larne Borough Council

Our champion

One of The Gobbins path's greatest champions was the filmmaker, photographer, historian and lecturer, the late John H Lennon, from County Down.

He made numerous surveys of the old path; extensively researched methods to build new bridges and even made two films about it. So impressive was his work both the army and navy offered to help his proposed restoration.

Sadly, John died before the realisation of his dream but he lived long enough to learn of Larne Borough Council's exciting plans to reimagine the path he loved.

John Lennon braves the old tubular bridge.

Courtesy of the Lennon Family

A hidden gem

The closure of the old path did not end its appeal for all visitors.

Even though its remaining bridges and footpaths were now in a perilous condition, the spectacular location around the beautiful cliffs at The Gobbins was a magnet for all kinds of thrill seekers. Climbers, kayakers and abseilers were just some who enjoyed Wise's vision in this exciting, but unauthorised, way.

Larne Borough Council staff survey the cliffs, before that new path was built.

Courtesy of Larne Borough Council/Linda McCullough

Our Thanks....

The reimagined path at The Gobbins was made possible by the generous support of:

 

Booking is OPEN now

 

Following the new government restrictions The Gobbins will be closed as of 27th November 2020. We will reopen again on the 11th of December 2020 (subject to any new restrictions) and look forward to welcoming you back. You are however still able to book online for tours running after the 11th December

We are delighted to announce that The Gobbins Cliff Path is now OPEN. There will be a number of changes both prior to and during your visit. Your safety and that of our staff is paramount and we are proud that The Gobbins has been awarded the ‘We’re Good To Go’ certificate which is the official UK mark to signal that a tourism or hospitality business is following Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, putting in place processes to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. For more details on these changes please Click Here



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