After being commissioned to design and build a dramatic entrance arch to Europe’s largest wooden roller coaster, The Deluxe Group were given the challenge to help create a truly spectacular water ride experience: Viking Voyage at Tayto Park.
The brief was to create an attraction where guests would undertake a Viking Voyage of adventure from Scandinavian shores to the ring forts of Celtic Ireland, travelling through a monastery with a truly authentic round tower. Taking inspiration from Interlink’s design storyboard, Adrian Finnegan, design manager of The Deluxe Group, developed a breath-taking first scene for the ride that carries visitors through a waterfall rock cave framed by a towering Viking helmet.
Deluxe have recently completed five attractions at Dubai’s Motiongate including Hotel Transylvania and Ghostbusters. Returning from Dubai, Adrian was delighted that Tayto Park had the ambition to create a water ride in Ireland that would challenge the best in the world.
Not only was the size of the project challenging with heights of over 20 metres but the short timeframe of seven months for build necessitated an innovative approach to themed construction by The Deluxe Group team.
Rather than attempt to construct such a scale of rock formation through using a similar technique employed by The Deluxe Group at Disneyland Paris using steel structure and hand sculpted concrete which would have been difficult to achieve in the time frame and subject to delays caused of a typical Irish winter, The Deluxe Group embarked upon developing new innovative techniques and materials used recently in film set construction such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
A series of silicone moulds were taken from actual rock formations in Iceland. These were used to create a number of master moulds from which naturally textured rock panels could be cast.
Together with Tayto Park’s Structural Engineer Malone O’Regan, a steel structure was designed that provided a modular frame to which lightweight panels could be attached. In order to ensure that true realism was achieved, The Deluxe Group project manager Colm Connolly called upon the services of film set art director Peter Black, whose credits include Game of Thrones and Chronicles of Narnia. With a reputation for creating naturalistic landscapes, Peter Black directed the team of sculptors to shape the rockwork surface into a breath-taking Nordic Fjord scene.
In order to ensure that the theming is preserved permantley and will stand up to the elements of Irish weather the rock formation was coated with a weather proof fire retardant Polyurea coating and then scenically painted to achieve realistic weathering.
Tayto Park project manager, David Everard, added tress and planting to the rockwork, completing a truly immersive Nordic landscape.
The imposing Viking helmet into which the ride boats ascend help build anticipation for guests as they approach the foreboding tunnel within the mountain. The helmet was constructed from steel and modelled on an actual Viking artefact. From the interior of the helmet water flows out of the eyelets in a cascading waterfall that only at the last minute is triggered by the boats passing to save guests being drenched. However, the potential soaking is only delayed as, having travelled through Viking villages and experienced the attack on a Celtic monastery, guests ascend a steep climb then hurtle downwards plunging into the icy water.
Anyone experiencing this new attraction will appreciate that Tayto Park has managed to put Ireland on the map in terms of a truly immersive and thrilling water ride. Both The Deluxe Group and Interlink are delighted to have been part of this collaboration to help Tayto Park realise their vision so successfully for the Viking Voyage ride.