Concern has been expressed about the number of people sustaining injuries on a popular cliff trail in Co Clare
Since last December, there have been five incidents where the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard was called out to recovered people injured in falls. In two cases, the casualties had to be airlifted to hospital.
The Cliffs of Moher Coast Walk was officially opened in 2013 and has proven to be a massive attraction in Clare.
The project is a collaborative effort between Clare County Council, Clare Local Development Company, The National Trails Office, Fáilte Ireland, the local community and almost 40 landowners along the route.
The Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard unit has recovered a total of five casualties since December after they sustained injuries in falls on the trail.
As the walk is not accessible by land vehicles, the Coast Guard has to used a custom built stretcher to transport casualties across fields to waiting ambulances.
Several others have sustained minor injuries that did not require hospital treatment as they were treated by staff of the Cliffs of Moher medical centre.
It’s understood that in some cases people were wearing unsuitable footwear, including heals, while the weather is also thought to have been a factor in some incidents.
Rural Recreation Officer for County Clare Eoin Hogan manages walking trails in the county including the Cliffs of Moher trail.
“I agree that the number of recent injuries on the cliff trail are concerning. I personally feel a contributory factor is the weather, the wind can be very strong on the exposed sections of the cliff path and walkers can get blown over,” he said.
“If the forecast is for bad weather choose an alternative less exposed trail and stay on designated trail. The trail has been developed to offer a safe and secure walking experience for walkers and they should not stray off the trail to the cliff edge or neighbouring fields,” Mr Hogan added.
“It is very important that users of the trail wear appropriate footwear and we highlight this at all the access points to the trail. We can only advise walkers, at the end of the day it is their responsibility to ensure that they have the equipped correctly for the trail and that they have assessed the weather conditions,” he said.
Two of the five people who suffered falls and required hospital treatment since last December had to be airlifted from the scene.
On March 29th, a woman injured after suffering a fall on the cliff walk was airlifted to hospital almost three hours after the alarm was raised.
On April 8th, the Doolin Coast Guard was again called out to assist with a walker who had suffered a leg injury on the Cliff path. The Shannon based Coast Guard helicopter airlifted the casualty to hospital in Limerick.
Most recently, on June 24th, the Doolin team recovered a walker who had suffered a leg injury north of O’Briens Tower at the cliffs. The casualty was transported to hospital by road.