Bridges are not only functional to Northern Ireland, they symbolize peace and prosperity in the region—like Londonderry’s Peace Bridge—or they add beauty to city spaces and countryside landscapes alike. You’ll find bridges all around the region—in coastal walkways, mountain passes, across major rivers and more. Here’s a list of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful bridges and why they are so admirable.
The Albert Bridge stretches over the River Lagan, in North Belfast. The bridge consists of five arches and posts along each side and was reconstructed after 1886, giving the city a cosmopolitan feel. The original masonry bridge was redesigned after two arches collapsed. At the end of the bridge, The Lady with the Hoop—or Hope—represents development and growing peace in the new millennium for Belfast.
From Belfast to Drumbeg, from the Irish An Droim Beag, you can spot one of the dearest sandstone bridges in Northern Ireland—Shaw’s Bridge. Very little is known about this stone crossing, other than knowledge that the site has always been used as a path across the water since the Stone Age. An oak crossing was built in 1709 by Captain Shaw, from which the current bridge gains its name.
The tiny island of Carr-a-Rede is accessible only by crossing this rope bridge, which lies approximately 100 feet above water. The trip is spectacular: After a short 15-minute hike, you will cross this rope bridge to Carrick-a-Rede, where you’ll be treated to fabulous views of Rathlin, Scotland, and beyond. The bridge lies above Northern Ireland’s most tropical turquoise waters, with lovely porpoises and dolphins swimming below you.
This small bridge might not look impressive on its own, but it marks a path between the Mourne Wall and Slieve Donard summit—the tallest point in Northern Ireland—at 2,800 feet. The bridge itself lies by the coastal section of the route, which spans half a mile. The point is where prisoners were originally massacred during a 1641 rebellion—giving the bridge its gruesome name.
Pan’s Rock Footbridge crosses Ballycastle promenade to lead visitors from the east end of the beach to the famous Pan’s Rock, a site left from a salt-iron rock. The beach itself traditionally attracts watersports fanatics. It looks out onto beautiful views of Fairhead and the Causeway cliffs in the distance.
This modern masterpiece was designed by AECOM, and unveiled by the European Union in 2011. Northern Ireland Tourism estimates that more than 3 million people have crossed this footbridge, which connects the two sides of the River Foyle. The bridge was originally built as a symbolic way of connecting the two sides of Derry/ Londonderry, which traditionally house the Catholic and Protestant populations separately.