Doolin Pier Granted Permission

Today the 32 County Councillors in Clare voted unanimously in favour for the proposed pier at Doolin.

The new pier will have a serious negative impact on surfing waves nearby including the famous Crab Island and Doolin Point waves.

In addition surfers will be put in great danger; their current access to Crab Island will now be replaced by the pier and they will be forced to paddle from inside the new pier. This will create great risks with crossing ferries and the increase in currents which will make paddling extremely difficult.

The photo below gives an example of what we (West Coast Surf Club) have been fighting to save.


 Photos Copyright: Paudie Scanlon.

The wave modelling that accompanied the application confirmed that there would be an impact on the existing wave environment if the pier is built as proposed. Failite Ireland supported the surfers concerns in a submission to Clare Co. Co. and requested that the current design not be approved.

The 32 councillors of Clare County Council went against all the warnings and decided to grant permission for an extremely large pier. The arguement for the new pier is to facilitate larger and more frequent ferries to the Aran Islands.

The main reason the development has been pushed through at such speed, without full regard given to all concerned, is the €6 million in funding made available by the EU for the development however the time limit for drawing down this money is fast approaching. Again we see that money outweights proper planning and we are now faced with an extremely large pier that will significantly impact on surfing waves, surfers safety and on the visual amenities of the area.


What is deeply frustrating is the content of the Planners Report that was prepared by Clare Co. Co. and given to the Councillors for deliberation was very one sided. The report did not illustrate the full concern of surfers and did not confirm that the proposed development will have a serious negative impact on the surfing environment of the area. During the celtic tiger boom years many developments were rushed through for funding and money reasons, it appears that lessons have not been learned.

The results of these planning decisions are plain to see right across the country. It is time for Ireland’s officials to focus less on the money implications of development and more on the impact on the natural environment, the safety of leisure activities and the ability of the receiving environment to accommodate development without having serious repercussions.

Personally, as a Planning Consultant, a surfer and member of the West Coast Surf Club and a member of the WCSC group that has been deeply involved in this case I am very disappointed with this decision. A great deal of work was put into the West Coast Surf Club and ISA submission but it seems that the issues raised were ignored and brushed over. If this development is built as now proposed it would be a catastrophe.

Clare Co. Co. have said that construction work could begin within 4 to 6 months. 

We (WCSC) are assessing our options and will take whatever avenue we can to have this decision reversed. There is still some light at the end of the tunnel and we’re hopeful that an alternative route can be taken to have the development re-assessed.

Neil Cooney
Professional: Urban, Regional, Coastal Planner

Personal: Environment, surfing, travel, outdoor.

Co-owner SAI

9 comments

  1. Anonymous

    This is the same county council that built a horrible car park at the cliffs of Moher and then in the ultimate of freedom limiting moves, decided to licence Buskers at the Cliffs.<br /> It is always about Money in Ireland lads…that is what we replaced the catholic church with!!!<br /> still with a bit of luck the new pier might create a wicked new barrell to one side and it could be the best

  2. Anonymous

    Doolin people have always welcomed surfers to its shores and have facilitated them in passing private lands to access surf waves. There are more than surfers using Doolin pier. Finally, after many years wait, 20 years plus, there are funds available to build another pier for use by commercial craft. Let the work begin and let the local earn a living.

  3. Anonymous

    Both sides of the issue could have been addressed but were not.<br />One side apparently bulldozed over the other; this smacks too much of the old Fianna Fail culture.<br /><br />Is this the same council that allegedly went on a junket to the US, paid for by Doonber Golf Club and then voted to dissolve the long-established right of way to the beach ?<br /><br />In fact, how many of these

  4. Anonymous

    The &quot;Save the world famous wave&quot; campaign is totally driven by a few business people based at Lahinch Co Clare.They make their money from surf related businesses and are promoting their businesses by fronting up this campaign and creating fear in the broader surfing community.<br />Doolin has been &quot;World Famous&quot; for many reasons long before any of the present crop of Lahinch

  5. Anonymous

    what are ye on about. driven by business people in lahinch. it is driven by surfers who know the importance of saving this place.im not a business owner in lahinch and have being surfing there before it became famous . and grew up around there . there is no need for a new pier which IS DRIVEN BY GREED BY A FEW DOOLIN BUSINESS.

  6. Anonymous

    Ah cop on now.<br />There are about 3 or 4 surf shops in lahinch.<br />I can assure you there are alot more than those proprieters surfing at Crab and Doolin when the waves are breaking.<br />The only people driven by greed here are Doolin2Arranferries.<br /><br />Do you think former world champ mick Fanning has a few quid invested in a Lahinch surf shop?? <br />He objected too.

  7. Anonymous

    Do you think Doolin2Aran Ferries are the only ones in Doolin supporting the pier, everyone who lives in Doolin and the Aran Islands and who have to work for a living supports the new pier. It is vital for the tens of thousands of passengers who go to the Aran Islands and vital to the local economy, so you cop on. Let Mick Fanning try to make a living in Doolin and we&#39;ll see then what he

  8. Anonymous

    You&#39;ve lost me.<br />The WCSC submission/objection and others including mine suggested the pier be moved further into the lee of the crab island to reduce the impact on the waves. Not stop the pier development altoegther. Surfers fully accept the need for a new pier. it is the council that has decided well we think the tourist euro is bigger than the surfer euro, rather than find a solution

  9. Anonymous

    Here in the UK Bournemouth council have spent millions to create a wave, using it as part of a successful regeneration plan. You only have to look at Madeira and Mundacca to see how fragile surfspots can be, and how the local economy suffered when the surfers went elsewhere. If this project goes ahead, and the waves are affected, I know that Doolin won&#39;t be on our list of places to visit for

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