Clare County Council has signed a contract with Guerin & Considine Ltd works on the Cliffs of Moher coastal walk.
This tourism project, worth €331,500 ex VAT, is based on the cooperation between seven local landowners and Clare County Council/Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, which is funding the project.
The project involves improvement to the coastal walk for approximately 1km north and 1km south of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre. These works will include resurfacing of the existing gravel path, amendment and repair of stone stiles, and repair and restoration of the existing flagstone and traditional stone walls.
A section of the path north of O’Brien’s Tower was closed late last year because of safety concerns.
The Cliffs of Moher coastal walk stretches from the trail head points in Liscannor to Doolin and now has been identified as a ‘hero’ product by Fáilte Ireland, with spectacular scenery and views over 18km. Since opening in 2013, the coastal walk has become a popular hiking destination.
Clare County Council recognises that sections of the walk in the 2km zone adjacent to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre are the most visited and that these require urgent attention for safety, repairs and maintenance. On this basis, the Council engaged directly with the seven local landowners to develop a pilot project in the 2km intermediate zone. The Council is very focused on adhering to a sustainable environmental approach in line with regulations and acknowledged the input and expertise of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in this regard. The Council acknowledged the positive engagement of local landowners and the community, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and statutory agencies in the spirit of the Government’s Department of Rural and Community Development national Walks Scheme.
The Council will invest in this 2km zone with a view to working closely to support Clare Local Development company (CLDC), which operates the much longer stretch of the walking trail from Liscannor to Doolin. The repair works have been identified and designed in-house by Clare County Council’s General Design Office and Cliffs Engineer with close cooperation and local expertise of the seven landowners within the 2km zone of the Visitor Centre. Local contractor Guerin & Considine Ltd has commenced the work, which is expected to take five months to complete.
“The development of an improved Cliffs of Moher coastal walk is imperative considering the Cliffs of Moher’s status as one of Ireland’s most visited natural attractions,” said outgoing Mayor of Clare, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy.
Bobby Kerr, Chairperson of Cliffs of Moher Centre Ltd, said: “I believe these works will deliver a coastal walk that prioritises the safety and enjoyment of visitors to the Cliffs, further enhancing what is an outstanding tourist experience. It will be a key part of the Cliffs of Moher Strategy 2040, which is currently being researched.”
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council, thanked the Board of the Cliffs of Moher Centre Ltd and the Elected Members of Clare County Council for their support for this emergency repairs project. Mr Dowling said: “Clare County Council’s investment in a new and improved coastal walk at the Cliffs of Moher will help to reinforce the site’s status as one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country. These works reflect the local authority’s ongoing commitment to the development of the world-famous tourist attraction.”
Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council, said: “These improvements will enable us to provide a first-class coastal walk experience to visitors while contributing to the maintenance of safety standards and sustainable growth at the Cliffs.
“Visitor numbers at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience increased by 3.8% to 1,580,010 in 2019. These numbers highlight the importance of ensuring facilities such as the coastal walk are maintained in optimal condition. I want to thank all who facilitated the collaborative discussions in any way to enable the planning and implementation of this project.”
Geraldine Enright, Director, Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, said: “Covid-19 has impacted the Cliffs of Moher, as it has tourist attractions all around the globe. We are welcoming visitors back again now and it is wonderful to see people enjoying the spectacular Cliffs and magnificent views.
“We have been working hard to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff and have a comprehensive operating procedure in place to comply with all Covid-19 restrictions and regulations.”
The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience has been recognised as one of Europe’s Leading Tourist Attractions for 2019 in the World Travel Awards and the Cliffs were voted Ireland’s favourite visitor attraction in the Irish Independent Readers Travel awards for 2019. The Cliffs of Moher are also a key component of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark.
For more visit www.cliffsofmoher.ie.