Europe’s largest wooden rollercoaster opened amid shrieks of terror at Tayto Park today.
The front seats in the first carriage to try out the Cu Chulainn Coaster went to Tayto Park founder Raymond Coyle and Cian Harty (11) from Castlebar, Co Mayo – whose dream to ride a major rollercoaster was made to come true by the Share a Dream foundation.
And Cian’s verdict? “Brilliant.”
The giant wooden edifice was constructed over the past year by the Gravity Group from Cincinnatti, Ohio – who have created over 50 wooden rollercoasters across the world, including China’s first ever wooden rollercoaster.
The Cu Chulainn is the first wooden rollercoaster in Europe with an inversion and is also the first wooden coaster to be constructed in either Ireland or the UK in the past 20 years.
Wooden structures are preferred by rollercoaster aficionados because it gives a better experience – and a bumpier ride.
With over 800,000kgs of yellow pine wood used, more than 100 tonnes of steel and collectively over 700,000 nails and bolts, the rollercoaster reaches dizzying heights of 32.05 meters with a stomach churning drop zone of 31 meters and reaches speeds of up to 100km per hour on a track 1082 meters long.
Tayto Park's founder Raymond Coyle said he was thrilled to officially open The Cú Chulainn Coaster to the public today. The work and planning that has gone into this project started as an idea many years ago, so to see it finally stand here at just over 32 meters high, is a real privilege.”
“We are aiming to give our visitors the very best experience that they can have at Tayto Park and our investment in our attractions this year will hopefully entice people from Ireland and abroad to visit Co. Meath. We believe in Tayto Park and we absolutely believe that it stands alone in Ireland when offering all day entertainment and value for families and people of all ages".
Lead rollercoaster designer from The Gravity Group, Korey Kiepert said this was the first project they had worked on in Ireland.
“We’re so excited to have created Europe’s largest wooden rollercoaster with an inversion,” he said.
“We were so impressed with the concept of the wooden rollercoaster and the Irish mythological theme for Cú Chulainn, that we really wanted two create something spectacular in Tayto Park.”
In addition to the rollercoaster, 2015 has seen the arrival of eight extra heart-racing attractions in Tayto Park, Ireland’s only 5D cinema and a steam train track as well as a new Dinosaurs Alive attraction.