Greater Accessibility For The Wild Atlantic Lodge
Discovering The Wild Atlantic Lodge
Ever since its official launch in 2014, The Wild Atlantic Way has changed the way people look at Ireland’s West Coast. A huge promotional campaign, urging people to “Discover Ireland’s Wild Atlantic” has led to a few record breaking years for Irish tourism, with 9.8 million visitors to Ireland in 2017 alone.
The Wild Atlantic Way has helped introduce visitors to some of Ireland’s most spectacular destinations including the Cliffs of Moher, the Skellig Islands and Croagh Patrick. Nestled in the heart of one such destination, the Burren in Co.Clare, is the Wild Atlantic Lodge. This B&B, with accompanying bar and restaurant, is enjoying the success of the country’s first long-distance touring route. Interest in the many attractions of the Wild Atlantic Way has brought visitors from the United States, and all over the world, to Paul Hughes’s Wild Atlantic Lodge.
Discovering a Need for Greater Accessibility
This surge in tourism lead Paul to realise certain inadequacies when it came to accessibility. After a recent extension, there are now over twenty bedrooms in the old-style lodge. These rooms are predominantly located upstairs or at the back of the building, a considerable distance from the front entrance. The building itself has only one set of stairs, which is quite narrow and windy. As Paul explained to Premier Lifts Ireland, this made upstairs access difficult for those with impaired mobility. “The age profile of most of our guests is 50+ and we do tend to have a lot of people who find stairs challenging.”
When he first reached out to Premier Lifts, Mr.Hughes had been receiving a number of enquiries that hit the same dead-end. Whenever guests were told that the only available rooms were upstairs, many would ask if the property had a lift. A negative response to this question would often rule The Wild Atlantic Lodge out as a potential place to stay. This not only negatively affected business but was also very disheartening for Paul, who hated having to turn away visitors in such fashion.
Discovering an Easier Means to Install a Cabin Lift
Paul was initially reluctant to contact Premier Lifts. Although he knew a lift was needed, the Clare proprietor had many concerns. Firstly, as the B&B is open year round, having to close the building for an extended period would seriously affect business. Another major concern was having to undertake the major excavation commonly associated with installing passenger lifts. Thankfully, our team was able to ease those worries when we met with Paul on-site.
After meeting with Paul, we suggested installing our ECO 700 Platform Lift. This is one of our most popular platform lifts, commonly used in retro-fittings. Having a max capacity of 400kg, it can take approximately five passengers or a wheelchair user and an assistant. As it is a platform lift, there are much shorter installation times with lower pit and overhead requirements. Paul was even able to contract his own builder to carry out all shaft preparation work. This was done in collaboration with our own engineers.
Discovering Accessibility For All Levels of Mobility
This cabin-style lift was installed in early 2019, much to the delight of the team at the Wild Atlantic Lodge. As mentioned above, one of the major concerns for Paul was having to endure a major disruption to business. The team at Premier Lifts Ireland worked with Paul to set an installation date in January, when the lodge is traditionally at its quietest. Our team was able to complete the work over a three day period, causing zero disruption to existing bookings. Although the bed and breakfast had to close briefly, the bar and restaurant were able to remain open throughout.
With the end product, Paul and his team at The Wild Atlantic Lodge were eager to have a lift that would match the quaint yet elegant interior. A fully stainless steel cabin and doors set the tone for the design. Added to this, the cabin floors were fitted with the same panel flooring as used in the hallway outside the lift. The two-stop-lift, which serviced the ground and first floor, was also installed with a through-door. This meant that passengers entered using one door and exited through the other, without any need to turn around. This is especially convenient in tight spaces where passengers are often carrying heavy luggage.
“Does your property have a lift?”
For Paul, delivering a negative response to the above question was never easy. The Wild Atlantic Lodge has several rooms on the ground floor, which can accommodate wheelchair users. However, in busier times of the year, when the downstairs rooms were occupied, answering “no” meant turning people away who could have otherwise stayed upstairs.
With the installation of a new platform lift, it’s a much more positive outcome. Paul and his team can now cater to all levels of age, weight and mobility. Visitors from all over the world can come to enjoy the beauty of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and the lodge that shares its name.
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