The famous O'Brien's Tower located at one of Irelands most visited tourist attractions, The Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare, has been fully restored and reopened to the public 184 years after it was first built.
The iconic tower, located on a headland overlooking the famous cliffs and an essential part of the historic visitor attraction, was built in 1835 by its local landowner and MP Cornelius O'Brien.
He wanted to develop tourism and attract visitors to the locality as a way of helping the local economy and bringing people out of poverty.
It had fallen into disrepair over the centuries because of water damage to its structure as a consequence of its exposed location.
The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, which runs the cliffs as a tourist location, undertook restoration works to ensure conservation of the building and to ensure public safety in the long term.
Director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience Geraldine Enright said extensive renovation and conservation works included the application of a lime wet dash externally, the repair of the internal face of the stone fabric of the tower, as well as renovation works including the removal and replacement of the existing stair enclosure, staircases and windows.
"O'Brien's Tower is a vital part of our local heritage and this restoration work ensures the conservation of this protected structure, which forms part of the draw for visitors from all over the world to the Cliffs of Moher," she said.
The Mayor of Clare Cllr Cathal Crowe said the completion of these works ensures safe and secure access for the public to this strategic viewing location while at the same time preserving one of the most historic and well know buildings in Clare.
The restoration works cost €382,000 and the tower will now become an experiential feature of a visit to the Cliffs of Moher with a digital presentation inside detailing the history of the tower, of its original owner Cornelius O'Brien and the other developments he initiated locally, including O'Briens Bridge in nearby Lahinch and the schoolhouse in Liscannor.
The cliffs are now the most visited natural attraction in the country attracting 1.6 million visitors last year, and that is expected to climb to two million by 2025.
The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is one of three "Signature Discovery Points" in Co Clare along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way, the others being the Bridges of Ross and Loop Head Lighthouse.
The cliffs are also a key component of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark.