Conservation Project on Historic Tower
Visited by in excess of 1.58 million people a year, the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre is one of Irelands foremost tourist locations. Seated near the cliffs edge, O’Brien’s Tower is a Protected Structure located at the Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, Co. Clare.
Original built as an observation tower by Cornelius O’Brien in 1835 for Victorian tourists. Restored in the 70s, the tower has been used as an observation tower for the thousands of tourists who visit the Cliffs of Moher annually.
Extensive water ingress, due to the exposed nature of the site, resulted in dangerous conditions for tourists and workers alike. The recent works entailed removal of viewing platform and construction of new roof deck, access enclosure and provision of two new stairs. The walls externally were re-pointed and rendered using lime-based materials and the embattlements removed and reconstructed to incorporate a lead tray. Internally a lime shelter coat was applied.
In addition to the extensive refurbishment works to O’Briens Tower, DRA were engaged by Clare County Council to provide consulting engineering services for a proposed extension and re-configuration of areas of the existing Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre. The scope of works entailed re-arranging existing accommodation within the visitor centre to accommodate additional café & seating space. Site Constraints surrounding the project included that the existing visitor centre is a semi-basement structure built into the surrounding landscape.
In addition to the above, various options to provide additional accommodation were examined including from within the existing visitor centre building and independent structures within the grounds of the visitor centre. The associated site development works had to take into consideration that the visitor centre is one of the busiest tourist attractions in the country with over 1.58 million visitors a year. The visitor centre and associated grounds were to be kept live and open during the works.