*Photograph: Brian Arthur
DROMOLAND CASTLE AND COUNTRY CLUB could be hosting The KPMG Women’s Irish Open for the next two years if the 2022 event proves to be a success.
Golfers teed off at 8am on Thursday morning for the European Tour event which has brought some of the top female golfers to Co Clare. A total of 126 golfers will take to the fairways on Thursday including Ennis’ Aideen Walsh (8:30am tee off) and Leona Maguire (12:55pm tee off).
It is the first time since 2012 that the Women’s Irish Open has been held. Excitement has been expressed by Dromoland Castle with staff eager to welcome spectators and guests to their championship course.
RTÉ and Sky Sports will broadcast from Newmarket-on-Fergus, coverage airs on RTÉ News Now from 3pm to 6pm on Thursday and Friday with RTÉ Two showing the golf on Saturday and Sunday. Sky Sports Mix is also covering 3 hours each day with Sky Sports Golf joining at the weekend. The action can also be streamed on the RTÉ Player and the SkyGo app.
A spokesperson for Shannon Airport Group told The Clare Echo they have planted their promotional signage directly in the eye-line of television cameras to maximise exposure for Shannon Airport over the four days. Management had previously come under fire for their failure to promote the International Airport during the 2019 Irish Open held in Lahinch.
By the conclusion of the action on Sunday, it is expected that organisers will announce Dromoland as the venue for the Women’s Irish Open for 2023. The Clare Echo understands that it is also in line to host the tournament in 2024.
A tented village has been erected within the grounds of the Dromoland estate with Clare County Council among the organisations to have a tent where they will showcase local artisan products. “We’re good at hosting golf tournaments as we’ve shown in Lahinch. We’ve worked with Dromoland to host the event successfully,” Chief Executive of the Council, Pat Dowling stated.
Newmarket-on-Fergus representative, Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) commented, “There is a momentous occasion happening in Dromoland this week, a massive amount of work has gone into this over the last six months”. He labelled the preparatory work as “astonishing”. McMahon stated, “I am hopeful surrounding villages and the county will benefit in huge way. Accessibility a major factor. What astonishes me is Dromoland got this, this is basically a rural area, if it goes well this year, I’m told we could have it for another two years”.
Speaking this week, Director of Economic Development with the County Council, Liam Conneally detailed that crowds of 4,000 to 5,000 are estimated to attend on Thursday and Friday with the number rising to between 8,000 and 10,000 for the weekend. “The benefit is not to just to the golf course but neighbouring villages and towns, people staying will hopefully stay in nearby locations and our towns and villages will benefit from it”.
Conneally outlined that Dromoland was on course to host the event again next year and said the local authority was keen to be featured on television channels to maximise “a huge marketing opportunity for our county”. He added, “It is a fantastic opportunity to market not just Dromoland in terms of it golf and accommodation but everything around it and what Clare has to offer”.