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Cliffs of Moher Strategy 2040

The Future of the Cliffs of Moher – Public Consultation

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is the most visited natural attraction in Ireland attracting 1.6m visitors in 2019. It is a signature discovery point on Fáilte Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, a main Geosite of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Geopark, a Special Protected Area for Birds and Wildlife and is a wholly owned tourism asset of Clare County Council.

Clare County Council supported by Fáilte Ireland is working, with a multi-disciplinary consultancy team led by Haley Sharpe Design, to prepare a new Cliffs of Moher Strategy 2040 including an overall site masterplan.

 

Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council explains, “The strategy is focused on creating world-class experiences, enhancing the special qualities of the site and growing the Cliffs of Moher’s contribution to the county in a sustainable way. The strategy is a joint initiative between Clare County Council and Fáilte Ireland and it will inform future developments at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience. Capacity issues, and a requirement for upgrade and investment, sparked the necessity to set out a sustainable future for the site and to maximise the economic benefit to County Clare for the next 20 years and beyond.”
The first stage of the Consultation Process closed on September 24th 2021.

The second stage of the Consultation Process focuses on the Draft Masterplan Proposals. This information and a programme of the opportunities for further engagement was publicised in October 2021.

We have engaged local communities, organisations, businesses, and residents across Clare to provide their input and listen to their views on the formulation of the strategy. Initial consultations have commenced with:

  • Clare County Council Departments and Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark
    National Parks & Wildlife Service
  • Fáilte Ireland
  • Clare Local Development Company (CLDC)
  • Burren Ecotourism Network
  • Landowners
  • Onsite Tenants
  • Accommodation and Tourism Groups
  • Local Community Groups
  • Cliffs of Moher Employees
  • Elected councillors for West Clare Municipal District
  • Irish Tour Operators Association (ITOA)
  • Coach Tourism and Transport Council (CTTC)
  • Clare Tourism Advisory Forum
  • Cliffs of Moher Centre Ltd Board

Phase 2 Public Consultation

May 5th to June 10th 2022

Public input sought on Cliffs of Moher Strategy 2040

A second phase of public and stakeholder consultation is underway in relation to the development of a long-term strategy and site masterplan for Ireland’s most visited natural attraction.

The Cliffs of Moher Strategy 2040 is being prepared on behalf of Clare County Council by a multidisciplinary consultancy team led by Haley Sharpe Design, an international design consultancy in the museum and heritage sector whose award-winning work includes the Normandy Visitor Garden, Grand Egyptian Museum, HMS Victory, and the Oman Botanic Garden. The strategy is co-funded by Fáilte Ireland.

A number of key concepts have developed from the extensive first phase of consultation with key stakeholders, local communities, organisations, businesses, and residents across Clare in 2021.

The concepts, which are linked to the County Clare Tourism Strategy 2030 and the Clare County Development Plan, include rewilding large sections of the Cliffs of Moher destination site, providing cliff-edge panoramic viewing platforms, repurposing the existing visitor centre, developing a new access gateway building at the site, and embracing a strategic approach to traffic management through greater coordination and links with existing and new transport services.

A series of stakeholder consultations in relation to the proposed concepts will take place during May while members of the public are invited to complete an online survey,  Download  and complete the survey or make a direct contribution via com2040@haleysharpe.com on or before 5pm on Friday, 10th June, 2022.

Public information boards are located at the Cliffs of Moher Experience, and outside the branch libraries in Ennistymon, Ennis, Kilrush and Killaloe, and at SkyCourt Shannon Town. A detailed consultation document on the Cliffs of Moher Strategy 2040 is available here.  X0855-COM Phase 2 Consultation Document – 04 May 2022 – FULL DRAFT

Cllr PJ Ryan, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said public participation in the refinement and finalisation of the strategy “is crucial so that it fully addresses the collective aspirations for the Cliffs and the benefits it can bring to the county.”

He continued: “I would urge anyone with an interest in the tourism and economic development of County Clare to participate in the public consultation process on this strategy, which I hope will have long lasting and wide-ranging benefits for North Clare and the wider county.”

Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, highlighted the importance of continued investment in the Cliffs of Moher Experience.

“The Cliffs of Moher is an iconic international tourism landmark and has dominated overseas marketing campaigns to attract tourists to Ireland for decades,” he explained. “The last masterplan for the site was completed almost 20 years ago. A visitor attraction of this renown, scale, and geological and environmental importance requires proper planning for future protection and to ensure economic benefit for the wider region.”

Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council, said: “This strategy creates a clear vision for the future direction of the Cliffs of Moher, enhances the special qualities of this world-renowned landmark, improves the visitor experience in keeping with the highest international visitor attraction standards and grows the Cliffs of Moher’s contribution to County Clare in a sustainable way. At its very heart is an environmental management approach that will provide enormous biodiversity and environmental benefits to the site and surrounding areas, protect the site for future generations, and deliver economic benefits to the wider tourism economy.”

Geraldine Enright, Manager of the Cliffs of Moher Experience, said the development of the strategy had reached a key stage.

“Feedback received during the current phase of public consultation and engagement with stakeholders will be collated and considered before a final draft is prepared and presented to the Elected Members of Clare County Council for their consideration and approval,” explained Ms. Enright. “The strategy must go through statutory processes, such as a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Ministerial Review of same, before being finalised and published in December 2022.”

Key stakeholders participating in the consultation process to date include Elected Members, community groups in North Clare, local landowners, Fáilte Ireland, Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, Burren Ecotourism Network, local accommodation providers and businesses, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Clare Local Development Company (CLDC), Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Coach Tourism and Transport Council (CTTC), Irish Tour Operators Association (ITOA), the Board of Cliffs of Moher Centre DAC, and all staff and tenants of the Cliffs of Moher Experience, as well as staff of the Planning, Roads and Tourism departments of Clare County Council.

Phase 2

The second stage of the Consultation Process focuses on the Draft Masterplan Proposals. This information and a programme of the opportunities for further engagement was publicised in October 2021.

We have engaged local communities, organisations, businesses, and residents across Clare to provide their input and listen to their views on the formulation of the strategy. Initial consultations have commenced with:

  • Clare County Council Departments and Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark
    National Parks & Wildlife Service
  • Fáilte Ireland
  • Clare Local Development Company (CLDC)
  • Burren Ecotourism Network
  • Landowners
  • Onsite Tenants
  • Accommodation and Tourism Groups
  • Local Community Groups
  • Cliffs of Moher Employees
  • Elected councillors for West Clare Municipal District
  • Irish Tour Operators Association (ITOA)
  • Coach Tourism and Transport Council (CTTC)
  • Clare Tourism Advisory Forum
  • Cliffs of Moher Centre Ltd Board

Key Challenges to tackle

The focus of the work to date has been on extensive preliminary research, on-site investigations and desk-top studies to understand the challenges facing the Cliffs of Moher and to identify potential opportunities for helping to realise future aspirations.

  • Vehicle congestion
  • Poor sense of arrival
  • Raise the overall quality of the visitor experience
  • Manage health and safety issues
  • Reduce disruption for local residents
  • Short dwell times – walkers on the Cliffs of Moher
  • Low secondary spending
  • Limited overnight stays
  • Greater cross promotion and linkages
  • Physical damage
  • Threats to flora and fauna
  • Visual intrusion on the landscape
group of razorbills

Strategic opportunities for the future

  • Place the Cliffs of Moher at the heart of a world-class destination through the development of enhanced relationships and links with the Burren, the Wild Atlantic Way and the Wider Hinterland. Use the iconic Cliffs of Moher as the magnet to attract and disperse visitors across the County.
  • Realise enhanced economic benefits from all visitors (coach/group visitors and fully independent travellers) and spreading these benefits more widely across the county and the region.
  • Encourage visitors to stay longer.
  • Increase bed nights, revenue and employment.
  • Greater cross promotion and linkages.
  • Enhance opportunities for local businesses.
  • Develop a sustainable transport system across the county to deliver sustainable access to the COM site and beyond.
  • Provide remote parking hubs and a shuttle system for visitors, a magical journey to the edge and a real sense of arrival.
  • Help improve the quality of life for local residents – reduce disruption and maximise the benefits.

Potential site development opportunities

Develop world-class visitor experiences:
  • A core focus on the cliff edge experience/walking on the edge of the world – creating exciting opportunities to go to the edge – and over!
  • Safe, welcoming, informative – but also engaging, exciting, breath-taking
  • Offer enhanced quality at all times – especially in the off-peak season and inclement weather
  • Expand the site to create more opportunities for greater exploration of the site and its stories – more things to see and do for all visitors and increased special access and greater personalised experiences
  • Develop the visitor centre to provide enhanced interpretation, catering and retail
  • Greater dispersal of visitors across the site – better experience and less pressure on the sensitive environment
Conservation and enhancement of the special qualities of the Cliffs of Moher:

• Their environs
• Their fauna and flora
• Their heritage

If you would like to make a contribution please email com2040@haleysharpe.com

To see who is on the committee click – Cliffs of Moher 2040 Strategy Steering Committee.

Cliffs Visitors on Walkways