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


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


Welcome to The Gobbins….

The Gobbins Coastal Path is currently closed, however tours are available for booking from 2nd March 2020 and we look forward to welcoming you.

Due to the popularity of the spectacular guided walk it is advisable that visitors book in advance. We would also like to remind visitors partaking in tours that suitable outdoor clothing and walking/hiking boots with thick tread and ankle support are essential.

Our visitor Centre is still open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm and the Café (view menu) is open daily from 9.00am until 4.00pm.

Please contact us on 028 9337 2318 or email if you would like further details.


Download your French and Spanish audio guide onto your smart phone

 A spectacular location where you can truly escape everyday life and experience nature at its most elemental. During your amazing 2.5 hour fully guided walking tour you may even taste the sea salt on your lips, feel the Irish Sea wind, marvel at tales of local smugglers, witness the native sea birds and keep your eyes open for some dolphins swimming off the rugged coastline.

The Gobbins experience will take you along a narrow path hugging the dramatic cliff face; across spectacular bridges amid the crashing waves of the North Channel; traversing hidden Tunnels under the Irish Sea; up and down rugged staircases carved into the cliff face and into caves that were once home to smugglers and privateers.


The Gobbins Experience

The Gobbins Path is an arduous trek that is often narrow and uneven, accessed by a very steep pathway. Due to the nature of the rugged coastal location suitable outdoor clothing and walking/hiking  boots with thick tread and ankle support are essential. Without exception, all guests must wear a safety helmet whilst experiencing The Gobbins. To enjoy The Gobbins a good level of fitness is needed. You must be fit enough to climb 50 flights of stairs and walk a very steep 1 in 5 gradient.


Sign up for our ezine and we'll keep you in touch...

Historic Image Archive

Nearby Attractions & Activities

Geology Uncovered

The Gobbins Biodiversity

Historic Timeline

Engineering Works

Photos of The Gobbins

Gobbins Visitor Centre - 360° Interactive Virtual Tour

Activities for all the family!

Find activities for all ages, seasonal events and fun things to do.