Clare County Council is seeking to rejuvenate the visitor facilities at the Cliffs of Moher which it says are “rather overwhelmed” by the numbers arriving at peak times.
The council said the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, which opened 12 years ago at a cost of €30 million, now “strains to be fit for purpose” and is at capacity between February and the end of October.
It said the infrastructure and arrival facilities at the current centre, which is largely underground, were originally designed to accommodate 400,000 visitors a year but now the numbers arriving has risen to 1.5 million a year and is projected to rise to almost 2 million a year by 2025.
It said the visitor centre - made up of retail, café/restaurant and interpretative facilities - “is a victim of its own success”.
“The existing systems are now sub- standard and make increasingly difficult the delivery of a world class visitor experience,” a tender document states.
In the document, the council says visitors to the current centre “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 is seeking consultants to prepare a masterplan for the visitor centre.
“The challenge is to deliver a world class visitor experience utilising best practice visitor management and environmental management principles to ensure the future of the natural assets is safeguarded and conserved as well as minimizing any adverse effects on the quality of life for those who live in the area,” the tender documents state.
The council wants the strategy for the site to be issued in December of next year and the closing date for tenders is July 15th.