Northern Ireland

The Gobbins: £7.5m coastal path forced to close for second time

The Gobbins coastal path reopened to the public last summer after six decades of closure Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The Gobbins coastal path reopened to the public last summer after six decades of closure and a major renovation programme

A County Antrim tourist attraction has been forced to close for the second time in six months.

The Gobbins - a dramatic cliff face walk in Islandmagee - was unveiled to the public last August, following a £7.5m revamp.

It was closed on Monday because of an "increase in levels of rock-fall".

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said they had no choice but to temporarily shut the path as a precautionary measure.

It is expected the popular tourist spot will remain closed for two to three weeks, while work is carried out on the cliff face.

A council spokesperson said: "As a coastal visitor experience exposed to the elements, the Gobbins will require ongoing routine maintenance...to mitigate the effects of coastal erosion on the path.

"A process of scaling has now commenced and while this is ongoing, it would be unsafe for visitors to use the path. This will reduce significantly any natural rock-fall thereafter."

Image caption The bridge structures have not been damaged by the severe weather but are inaccessible at present because of damage to the main pathway

The Gobbins was opened to the public for the first time in more than 50 years in 2015.

But following landslides caused by storms Abigail and Frank, it shut in January for repair work, only re-opening at the end of April.

The Gobbins was the brainchild of Irish railway engineer Berkeley Deane Wise.

It first opened in 1902 and quickly became famous as a white-knuckle walk.

Carved into black basalt cliffs, it was an engineering triumph, connected by a network of walkways and bridges, the most iconic of which was the tubular bridge.

More on this story