Clare County Council has begun the process of compulsorily purchasing a number of properties close to a notorious traffic black spot in Ennistymon, which causes major traffic congestion on the road to the Cliffs of Moher.

Blake's Corner is located on a bridge which leads to Lahinch and on to the Cliffs, and causes major traffic jams during the busy tourist season when an estimated 10,000 vehicles a day, including large tourist buses, must pass there.  

The Cliffs of Moher are the second most visited tourist location in the country, and the biggest outdoor visitor attraction, with over 1.6 million tourist travelling to the location last year.

The local authority was granted planning permission in 2018 for a major €7 million plan giving improved access into the town, including building a new bridge over the Inagh River, and pedestrianising the existing seven arch Michael Conway bridge, which is a protected structure.

The plan also included providing improved access for walkers and cyclists.
 
There are two listed buildings at the location which were former shops, Blakes and Linnannes, dating back to the 19th century, which are to be preserved as part of the upgrade.

The plan was seen as the best option to ease the traffic problem while at the same time preserving the historic fabric of the corner and the bridge.

However the plan involves the demolition of two buildings on the western side of the river and Clare County Council has now moved to issue CPOs for both structures.

It will involve placing notices in local and national papers informing member of the public of their intention to secure both buildings as part of the the wider plan for works at Blake's Corner.

Local Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway who lives in the town said the move to compulsorily purchase the buildings is a significant step in the long process to solve the traffic problem at Blake's Corner.

He believes the town of Ennistymon and the wider region will benefit from the upgrade, and improve facilities for the thousands of tourists who visit the region, and he expects the deadline of 2022 for the completion of the project will be met.