Contract to design new Cliffs of Moher visitor centre awarded to English group

Haley Sharpe Design Ltd has been awarded the €398,547 Cliffs of Moher contract by Clare County Council, which includes devising a new strategy for the facility

The Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare.

The Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare.

 

Clare County Council has awarded a €400,000 contract to an English-based company to draw up a 20-year strategy for the country’s most popular natural visitor attraction, the Cliffs of Moher.

This follows the local authority confirming that Leicester-based Haley Sharpe Design Ltd has been awarded the €398,547 Cliffs of Moher Strategy 2040 contract.

The bill is almost €100,000 more than the €300,000 indicative cost of the Cliffs of Moher Strategy placed on the work by the council earlier this year.

The council is commissioning the work after admitting that the existing visitor facilities at the Cliffs of Moher “strains to be fit for purpose” and are ‘now rather overwhelmed’ during peak times with visitor numbers projected to increase to almost two million by 2025.

It is now 12 years since the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience (COMVE) was opened at a cost of €30 million.

However, in the tender documentation the council makes the case for additional visitor infrastructure stating that existing systems at the CoMVE are ‘sub-standard’ and that the attraction “is a victim of its own success”.

The council noted that the infrastructure and arrival facilities at the site were originally designed and constructed for a visitor population of 400,000, which now numbers 1.5 million and which is projected to rise to almost 2 million by 2025.

The council’s critique of the existing facilities stated that “visitors are put off by queues at all service points, toilets and restaurant. At times, visitors may not be able to gain entry to the visitor centre due to the crowds”.

The council stated that the facilities “are at capacity from February through to the end of October” and this is due to the geographical location of the Cliffs of Moher, its functioning as a coach tour lunchtime stop and the concentrated volume of visitors.

Haley Sharpe Design Ltd is to draw up a masterplan, a cafe and retail design concept, appropriate interpretative concepts and costings and toilet facilities.