Henry retraces ancestor’s footsteps at Gobbins path

Henry Valentine Bell, the 1000th visitor at the Gobbins cliff path, is pictured with Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Billy Ashe. INLT 37-657-CON
Henry Valentine Bell, the 1000th visitor at the Gobbins cliff path, is pictured with Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Billy Ashe. INLT 37-657-CON
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The Gobbins cliff path walk has marked a major milestone, welcoming its 1,000th visitor just weeks after the attraction’s grand opening.

The Islandmagee venue – which reopened to the public last month for the first time in over half a century – is proving to be a big hit with visitors, topping Tourism NI’s chart of things to do in Northern Ireland.

Poignantly, the 1,000th person to visit the reinstated path was someone who has close family connections to Gobbins.

Henry Valentine Bell retraced his ancestor’s jaunting car-driver roots as he followed in his footsteps last Wednesday, walking the iconic series of bridges, caves, steps and tunnels carved through the spectacular rock face.

“My family have actually lived in Islandmagee since the 17th Century,” he said.

“My great-grandfather, Robert McCartney, had a close connection to the Gobbins. His job was to taxi visitors via jaunting car from Ballycarry Railway Station to the attraction.

“It is true to say that the Gobbins has played a very important role in my family’s history so I am delighted to add this new chapter and plan to keep visiting for many years to come.”

Henry, who last walked on the Gobbins as achild when it was closed to the public, said the newly restored path was everything he had hoped it would be.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Councillor Billy Ashe said he thrilled at the success the Gobbins has enjoyed so far.

“Since we opened the doors of the new attraction, we have been overwhelmed by the local and global demand for tickets to the Gobbins,” he added.

“Currently the path is fully booked until the end of September, with places in October filling up fast. We have even received requests from visitors looking to book ahead for June 2016.”

Tickets are priced £8.50 per person and £23 for family tickets. To book, contact 028 9337 2318.