Tayto Park could get Europe's 2nd biggest roller coaster in 2015
TAYTO Park is planning to install what will be the second biggest roller coaster in Europe.
The amusement park is aiming to set up the €8.5m attraction in 2015 as a part of a programme including new rides, a new entrance and additional parking and facilities.
Owner Ray Coyle told the Herald that the proposal for the extension would soon be submitted to the relevant planning authorities.
"A planning application is ready for lodgement at the end of the month with Meath County Council," he added.
The roller coaster will be the second biggest in Europe in terms of speed and length.
"It will be 1.4kms long, and 32 metres at its highest point," said Mr Coyle, "and it will be able to take 700 people an hour."
There are two trains on the attraction and each of them has 12 seats. It also has a top speed of 105km an hour.
The wooden ride, which will take up about 2.8 acres, has to be built specially in America to suit the site, Mr Coyle revealed.
The only roller coaster that is bigger in dimensions is in Europa Park in Germany.
The owner hopes the attraction – and the other works – will be big draw for potential visitors. A total of €25m is set to be invested over the next year-and-a half, with the new developments scheduled to be completed by April 2015.
Mr Coyle said he was very pleased at how well the park in Ashbourne, Co Meath, had done since opening in 2010.
He revealed that visitor numbers had grown exponentially year-on-year. In its first year of business, 224,000 people went through its gates. But by 2012, that figure had risen to 350,000.
And last year, the numbers came just short of half a million, reaching 495,000, according to Mr Coyle.
"I am absolutely thrilled – we believe that we can keep growing," the owner said.
"We are predicting a 12pc growth in visitor numbers this year, and the following year a 25pc growth in numbers because of the new roller coaster and new rides."
The businessman also revealed that there were even more attractions set to go live within the next few months.
"In 2014, we have a railway line for children going in and a swing boat," he said.
"We will also have another water area and a pizza shack restaurant. All these will be open by Easter time."
An enormous amount of landscaping work is under way in relation to a lake that was built, he said, and coloured fish are also being stocked.
And in addition, the park has also seen new arrivals to its animal stock.
"Just before Christmas, we got in a Wasabi cat," Mr Coyle told the Herald.
He added two black cougars were scheduled to arrive at the park in about six weeks' time.
Around 4,500 people took out family memberships for Tayto Park in 2013, according to the attraction's figures.