A TEAM of Limerick cleaning specialists have restored one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions to its natural beauty after a crazy artist daubed the Cliffs of Moher with graffiti, causing a national outcry in the process.
Tourists and locals looked on in awe last Sunday as the team from Premier Industrial Cleaning & Maintenance, based at Eastway Business Park in Limerick, worked at 600 feet above the snarling Atlantic ocean with safety equipment and ropes to remove the layers of paint recently daubed on the cliffs.
“It is a shame that such vandalism had taken place on one of Ireland’s most famous tourist attractions. Severe penalties should be handed out through the courts for such actions. Onlookers who watched us from a distance were shocked that someone had taken such a risk to vandalise such a spot of beauty,” said Billy Marshall, managing director of Premier.
Because of the porous nature of the sandstone rock at the cliffs it was feared it would take years or even decades for the design to be weathered away naturally.
“In my 21 years in business this was the most daunting task we have had to carry out,” said Mr Marshall.
Access to the site was a major hindrance due to the landscape and terrain, so all the equipment had to be carried 450 yards from the vehicles to the side of Hag’s Head, which is on the Liscannor side of the famous tourist attraction.
The freezing conditions made it difficult.
“Getting water and power to the side of the cliff face also posed difficulties so cables had hoses had to be run the same distance back to the vehicles which added further trip hazards to the job on hand,” Mr Marshall explained.
Manager with the team, Ian Bennis, secured a fall arrest lifeline around Hag’s Head for the rest of the crew to harness on to. “Safety is always top of our list no matter what job we do and all aspects have to be taken into consideration including the winds and wet slippy rocks. With temperatures at –6 on the cliff the grass and rocks were treacherous so there was no room for error,” said Ian, a former League of Ireland goalkeeper with Cobh Ramblers.
Chemical specialist, David O’Keeffe, headed the process in removing the layers of paint, which were callously applied by the mystery graffiti artist in recent weeks, and which attracted national media coverage when a locally based photographer discovered the graffiti.
“The removal of the graffiti was not a problem to us but geology and wildlife had to be taken into consideration,” said David.
“Due to the porous nature of the sandstone rock along with the wildlife, it eliminated the use of abrasive chemicals. The process took longer than anticipated but the result was a success.”
The crew started at 8am in freezing conditions and did not finish until just before 5pm, much to the delight of local people and tourists who had gathered to look on as the team went about their work.
“The were very hospitable and welcoming but most of all were glad to see the graffiti removed at the end of the day. That is what we were there for,” said Billy, whose company recently completed a deep cleaning project in Thomas Street in Limerick city.
Premier were delighted to restore one of Ireland’s top treasures to its natural glory and Billy and his team are hoping that this will be the end of any graffiti madness on the Cliffs of Moher.