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Blake’s Corner traffic to be kept to a minimum during Irish Open

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It is planned to keep traffic through Blake’s Corner to a minimum during The Irish Open with other routes and a shuttle bus service to be utilised instead while local businesses have been asked not to hike prices during the European Tour event.

From July 3rd to 7th this year, daily crowds of between 20 and 25,000 will attend The Irish Open at Lahinch Golf Club. Though not required under law, the European Tour agreed to apply for an event licence on December 10th. The process involved in the application brings together Government agencies that will be key stakeholders in ensuring the event is a success, these include Clare County Council, the Gardaí, HSE; Irish Water and the Fire Services.

A traffic management plan is outlined in this event licence application and is still subject to the planning process. It proposes a temporary closure of the Liscannor Rd during tournament days from early morning to late evening. The majority of golf traffic will be diverted at Ennis and Inagh towards Miltown Malbay to access the public car park south of Lahinch (Moy), North Clare traffic will make use of the public car park north of Lahinch (Ballyellery), park and ride facilities will be in place at both car parks.

Traffic through Ennistymon and Blake’s Corner will be kept to a minimum with members, volunteers, guests and local traffic allowed access along this route. Shuttle Bus services will operate between Lahinch and Ennistymon and Liscannor. A Traffic Management Committee comprising of European Tour personnel and subcontractors; An Garda Síochána, Clare County Council and Lahinch Golf Club has been convened and is to meet on a regular basis to review all traffic related issues ahead of and during The Irish Open.

Infrastructural work is being carried out by Clare County Council in the area. Liscannor Road Car Park; Miltown Malbay Road Car Park; the Promenade Car Park; new public toilets and shower facilities at Seaworld; Rue d’Arazon; laneways around the village and coastal protection defences on the southern part of the promenade are all on the programme of works.

A meeting with the local business community was held at The Falls Hotel last month where approximately 150 people attended. Concerns and issues were raised during the evening, but Lahinch Golf Club stated “the general feedback was very positive and supportive”. Pat Dowling, CEO Clare County Council; John Galvin, Superintendent Garda Síochána; Simon Alliss, ET Tournament Director; Conor Mangan, ET Marketing & Brand Manager and Padraig Slattery, Lahinch Golf Club all made contributions on the night.

Community interaction was discussed as being important “to ensure a successful event”. Local businesses were asked for their support in ensuring that the cost of food, drink, accommodation (including private accommodation) and all other products and services are not increased for the week of the tournament.

A site layout plan will be finalised by the end of January, The Clare Echo understands. It has been provisionally agreed that the tented village will be located on the Castle Course (2nd/3rd fairways); corporate hospitality facilities and media centre will be located within the short game academy while the players’ lounge and members marquee will be positioned left of the second fairway. The location of grandstands and how spectators enter the tournament from both the south and north side of the golf course have yet to be confirmed.

There are no changes planned to the order of play on the Old Course, play will commence from the first tee and finish on the eighteenth green. On Thursday and Friday, due to the fact that safe access for players to start on the tenth tee is proving very difficult, it is likely that all play will start from the 1st tee only. A one-tee start operates at the Open Championship so while it means longer days play on the first two days of the tournament, Lahinch Golf Club said “we have no real concerns”. Outside of the construction of a new back tee on the 13th hole, there have been no further requirements from the European Tour or Paul McGinley.

600 volunteers will be required for the week of the tournament. Members of Lahinch Golf Club will serve in this capacity while Golf Clubs within Co Clare and the Midwest region will also be asked to join in the volunteer programme.

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