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 (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, 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.”
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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
• 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.
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.
Dealing with the negative impacts of large visitor numbers at peak times
• Vehicle congestion
• Poor sense of arrival
• Raise the overall quality of the visitor experience
• Manage health and safety issues
• Reduce disruption for local residents
Limited economic impact
• Short dwell times
• Low secondary spending
• Limited overnight stays
• Greater cross promotion and linkages
• Physical damage
• Threats to flora and fauna
• Visual intrusion on the landscape
- 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, 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.
Develop world class visitor experiences:
• A core focus on the cliff edge experience / walking on the edge on 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