Cable car project for Hell Fire Club still up in the air after €50m estimate

By Mary Dennehy

THE construction of a cable car from Tallaght to the Hell Fire Club could surpass the dizzying heights of €50m, according to an outline report on the feasibility of the proposal.

Last October, Tallaght South Sinn Féin councillor Dermot Richardson asked South Dublin County Council to commission a feasibility study into the provision of a cable car from Tallaght to the Hell Fire Club – a motion which was passed in council chambers.

Tallaght cable car collage 16032017

Cllr Richardson believes that a cable car could tie-in with the local authority’s tourism strategy for the county and also its proposals to develop a flagship €19m tourism project in the Dublin Mountains.

The council commissioned consultant engineers to conduct an outline report into potential cable car access from Tallaght to the Hell Fire Club on Montpelier Hill – a report which has been finalised.

Seen by The Echo, the outline report states that the potential investment costs for the project would likely be in the region of €50m plus – with operating costs “significant” and in excess of €200,000 per annum.

According to the report, on the basis of a projected 300,000 visitors per annum to the proposed Dublin Mountain Visitor Centre, the potential annual passenger demand would be 30,000 – which equates to 100 passengers per day, possibly 500 per day at peak times, or 10 to 50 visitors each way over a ten-hour day.

At a return fare of €25 per passenger, revenue of €750,000 could be generated each year – which is, according to the outline report, “equivalent to 1.5 per cent of an investment cost of €50m, and without taking account of the operating costs”.

In relation to a potential route for the proposed cable car, the report outlines that the original idea of running the cable car from Tallaght Stadium, which is the most direct distance at 4.5km, would “not be acceptable in terms of safety or for residential amenity for a cable car to traverse above buildings, especially houses”.

The outline reports suggests a 6km-long, indirect route which would follow open spaces alongside public roads at Whitestown Way and Firhouse Road West to Old Bawn, before turning south along the River Dodder valley for 1km, turning eastward at Bohernabreena and passing south at Bohernabreena graveyard to cross farmland and forestry onto the lower mountain slope.

Speaking with The Echo, Cllr Richardson said: “It’s great that the report is back so quickly.

“I know that €50m is a lot out of someone’s pocket, but I do believe that there are investors out there who would be interested in such a venture.

“It was never the intention that the council would have to invest millions into the cable car, it was hoped that they could work alongside an investor.”

The outline report will now go before the council’s Economic and Environment SPC for discussion.

When asked what he thinks the future for the cable car is, Cllr Richardson said: “I don’t know if it is feasible right now, it may come back on a smaller scale.

“Maybe I won’t see it in my lifetime, but I do think that it will happen eventually, there is a need for it . . . and a solution for getting people up to the Dublin Mountain visitor centre.”

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