Paul McGinley’s plans for creating a “festival atmosphere” at Lahinch for The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open have received two major boosts.
Clare County Council and An Garda Síochána have agreed to make Main St, Dough in Lahinch a pedestrianised zone for the four day European tour event to encourage visitors to stay on in the town each evening once the golfing concludes.
According to the tournament host, McGinley pedestrianising the street was one of his objectives once he knew Lahinch was the right venue. “I remember we had our first meeting down here and the County Council and the Gardaí were and we were talking about the festival and that it wasn’t just golf bringing the town into the golf course and the town into the golf course. Everybody can relate to the pubs, the craic and the banter, close down the town, put a stage in the town, bring the music and I was thinking that was easy to achieve for the County Council to close down the town to pedestrians only at certain times is a big ask. To cut a long story short, they’ve agreed that, the County Council and the Gardaí only recently in the last week have signed off on that so we’re going to have a street for pedestrians only”.
A stage will be erected in the heart of Lahinch as part of the aim to forge an event that will live long in the memories of those who attend it. A mini stage will be erected in the centre of the town which will be home to Irish music while a larger stage will be in the tented village opposite the clubhouse on the castle course.
Ruan accordion player Sharon Shannon known worldwide is confirmed to take to the stage on one of the nights during the Irish Open while Hermitage Green will play the Sunday night. Further musicians will be announced in the coming weeks as the countdown continues.
Speaking in Co Clare recently, Paul McGinley expressed his confidence that 2019 would be an Irish Open to remember. “I really believe it is going to be a great venue, it’s amazing how much the people of Ireland have rowed behind it, amazing how the media here have rowed behind it. For some reason we all love Lahinch, it’s a town that’s got a lot of good will, a lot of love and we all love the golf course too, those things have overridden every challenge that we’ve had and I think it’s really going to turn into a successful event, we’re not there yet, we’ve created a lot of momentum but we’re on the right path”.
“We’re going to have stage, Sharon Shannon is going to be one of the performers, she may well be the first, we’ve got other performers as well. I really want to create that festival atmosphere, it’s not just the golf, the golf is going to be great, the players will take care of themselves, the golf course will take care of itself and represent us really well but I want to ignite the craic up there in the evening, it’s about banter and having people on the streets with music going on at the same time, there will be a party atmosphere”.