Business Irish

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Climbing numbers: Tourists overwhelm facilities at the Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
Outdated: Visitor centre was built to cater for 400,000 visitors a year – but five times that number are now predicted

Gordon Deegan

CLARE County Council is to put in place a new masterplan to rejuvenate visitor facilities at the country's most popular natural visitor attraction, the Cliffs of Moher.

The local authority admitted that the visitor facilities at the Cliffs "strain to be fit for purpose" and are "now rather overwhelmed" during peak times. The council said the infrastructure and arrival facilities at the site were designed to cater for 400,000 visitors a year, but now hosts 1.5 million per annum. That number is projected to rise to almost two millionby 2025. 

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The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience (COMVE) was opened 12 years ago at a cost of €30m. Comprising retail, café/restaurant and interpretative facilities, it is housed almost entirely underground. The original spend also included a significant upgrading of the walkways and viewing areas at the cliffs.

However, the council, in making the case for additional visitor infrastructure, said existing systems at the COMVE are "sub-standard" and that the attraction "is a victim of its own success". The tender documentation for consultants to prepare a Cliffs of Moher Strategy 2040 state: "The infrastructure and facilities necessary to cater for this projected level of population increase need to be planned for and put in place now."

The new strategy will include a masterplan; a café and retail design concept and appropriate interpretative concepts.

Irish Independent

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