Finally! It’s open!
I’ve waited a lifetime to walk The Gobbins Path. I’m from Islandmagee and the path has been a part of my life since as far back as I can remember. I went for walks down to Wise’s Eye when I was at Primary School, I partied there in my teens and have taken my own children there in recent years (one of them in a backpack, which had my mother in law in conniptions).
It rests on a north easterly facing cliff, which means that past about 11.00am it is hidden from direct sunlight. It gets cold and eerie real quick. I’ve cycled round Islandmagee since my early teens and always, when passing The Gobbins, there was a chill in the air. Legend says that it has a brutal and murky past, what with people being driven over the edge en-masse as part of a rural cleansing.
When I first heard of the proposed re-development I, like many others, was sceptical. But lo and behold it happened. Thanks to some tireless work by members of Larne Borough Council, eventually funding was obtained. McLaughlin & Harvey were appointed as the contractors and they took up residence at the top of the cliffs. Things started to swing into action.
Then the oval bridge arrived. I had heard it was coming but lucked out one day whilst driving to Belfast and passed it on it’s way to being delivered to Islandmagee. I turned round and followed it, stopped by the house to pick up my quadcopter, and started on the journey of documenting the restoration of The Gobbins Path.
Here’s a short film from the first day and the delivery of the iconic Oval Bridge.
It was this film that led to a contract with Dean Church and his company DNC Fabrications, to document the whole restoration. Thanks must go to Richard Scott from McLaughlin & Harvey for providing unfettered access during the year long construction phase; making my job a lot simpler and enabling the project to be documented in it’s entirety, from the air and the ground.
So here’s what we’ve ended up with for DNC, a film that is about The Gobbins but also about the company’s rapid and exciting growth. On top of this we now have a definitive collection of footage that clearly shows the reconstruction over the period of a year.
With it comes a certain sense of completion on a personal level as well. I was determined that I would get to document the project and again, thanks to Dean, that happened in a way that I could only have hoped for. Wolfhound Media are proud of this project.
Here’s an excerpt from a poem called Brian Boy Magee which references the gory history of The Gobbins and Slaughterford (where I live)
Scotch troops from that Castle grim guarding Knockfergus Town.
And they hacked and lashed and hewed, with musket and rope and sword
Till my murdered kin lay thick in pools by the Slaughter Ford.
I fought by my father’s side, and when we were fighting sore,
We saw a line of their steel with our shrieking women before.
The Redcoats drove them on to the verge of the Gobbins Grey.
Hurried them - God ! the sight, as the sea foamed up for its prey!
O, tall were the Gobbins Cliffs, and sharp were the rocks, my woe
And tender the limbs that met such terrible death below.
Mother and Babe and Maid, they clutched at the empty air,
With eyeballs widened in fright , that hour of despair.
Sleep soft in your heaving bed, Oh little fair love of my heart.
The bitter oath I have sworn, shall be of my life a part.