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Saturday 3 December 2016

The only way is up as Tayto gets set to unveil new rollercoaster

development

Charles Coyle at Tayto Park, Co. Meath in front of the new rollercoaster
Charles Coyle at Tayto Park, Co. Meath in front of the new rollercoaster

The final touches are being put at Tayto Park on the most spectacular rollercoaster the country has ever seen.

Charles Coyle (27), the park's general manager, says it will be open in June, and requests to go on the rollercoaster have already been coming thick and fast.

The wood for the construction of the thrilling ride - which comes with an €8m price tag - came all the way from Georgia, in the US.

"People always ask 'why can't you use the wood here in Ireland'. But the reason is, there are only a couple of different varieties of wood you can use for this.

"One of the most important key ingredients is the moisture content in the wood.

"We had to get a particularly dry type of wood, with a very low moisture content. We could have got it from Sweden or Austria as well, but they couldn't deliver the types of quantities we wanted, and also at the right price as well.

"It actually worked out cheaper to purchase all the wood in the United States and ship it across the Atlantic," he said.

A company called the Gravity Group, from Ohio, have been tasked with building the 32-metre-high ride Cu Chulainn.

"The reason we wanted a rollercoaster in the first place was that we wanted a big marquee attraction that would put us on the map.

"And the steel ones, okay they can be very good, but some of them if they are not done tastefully, they can be a bit of an eyesore.

"We wanted something that was nice looking. A wooden one is quite spectacular. Never mind the ride, the very structure itself just blows you away."

They have heard from people from all over Europe who want to visit, as well as the rollercoaster enthusiasts of the world," he said.

attraction

The park has even had requests from enthusiasts hoping to pop the question on the ride.

"We hope that the general public in Ireland will want to come and see it and ride this attraction when we have it open for summer," he said.

It's all part of a €25m expansion of the Co Meath park.

"We have created a new entrance which is going to be open this summer as well," said Charles.

"It's connected very close to the N2, which will hopefully alleviate the traffic on the minor roads, but it will also get people in quicker," he said.

"Aside from that there are additional car parks, there is a brand new admissions building with retail space in it, but there are also additional rides aside from the rollercoaster.

"We have a new train ride, which is a steam train for all ages. There is a road train, which is going to assist in bringing people from overflow car parks up to the door and make it easier for them."

A '5D cinema' is already up and running at the park, which can generate many special effects based on movie scenes.

Combining other specially designed effects such as smoke, rain, lightning, air bubbles, snowflake and storm, a 5D Cinema is capable of stimulating all your senses and can make the audience feel like they are literally being immersed in the picture.

The admissions policy to the Park has been changed.

"What we have done is, we are trying to make it easier on people and better value. So, it is €14 per person coming in, and under threes are free. Students and OAPs are €12, and there are group discounts as well.

"But the big thing this year, is we have introduced a wrist band system. So, you can either continue to purchase per ride, or purchase an all-inclusive wrist band, which is €15, so you can go on all the rides as many times as you like all day.

The park is currently employing around 280 people, he said.

"Most of them are part time. Some are builders at the moment. Seasonal staff will come along in July and August," he said.

Last year, the park had over 450,000 visitors, and this year, they are hoping to get 600,000.

"Fortunately, the way the season has started, it really seems that is achievable," he said.

"We hope that one day we will get 800,000 or 900,000 visitors. Of course, if we broke one million, that would be a dream come true."

Among the new arrivals for the zoo at the park are Ankole - a type of cattle "with huge long horns".

"We are also hoping to bring in some different types of monkeys as well. We have a chick-rearing section also, and we have changed the design of a number of the enclosures as well, making some of them bigger and changing the layout of them as well."

Charles has been the general manager in Tayto Park for the last few years, and prior to that he worked in other areas in the park. It's a family business so every summer, he was involved in different jobs.

"When I was able to drive, I was out on the road, assisting the sales reps and learning how that goes. It was a very valuable learning curve, because of course I previously assumed you start work at nine, you finish at five.

"But no, following the sales reps around, you really learn, as in every job, the job isn't over until the job is done.

"It was a great experience," said Charles.

pentathlon

His talented younger sister Natayla Coyle (24) competed in the London Olympics in pentathlon.

"She is gearing up for the Rio Olympics, so hopefully she will be able to qualify. The qualifying period begins in June.

"She is competing in Budapest at a world cup there, so things are going well," Charles said.

"She has had some great success recently. We are hoping that she will be able to make the Olympics as well," he added.

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