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The Lodge at Doonbeg Golf Club. Photograph by John Kelly.

Business booming at Doonbeg

JOE RUSSELL, general manager of Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland in Doonbeg,  has said the five star west Clare resort is currently experiencing its busiest month since opening in 2006.

Currently the golf club and lodge employees 230 full and part-time people. Acknowledging that early year uncertainty adversely affected trade in Doonbeg, following receivership and the winter storms, Joe Russell says that business has picked up considerably in recent months.

“With the receivership it was slow to start off and obviously coming out of the storm, that had an impact on our golf business at the beginning of the year. But we have done a tremendous amount of work in the last number of months and August has been our best ever month since we opened. July was very strong, August is stronger and September will be strong. We’re also looking at a good October. While the early part of the year was tough going, giving everything that went on, it’s good at the moment. At this stage we have over 200 hundred golfers out per day at the weekend. The general business has been very, very good for the last two months,” Mr Russell revealed.

The Trump Organisation purchased the resort for €15m in February. Joe Russell says that the North American market has since increased significantly.

“While we’re still transitioning to the Trump Organisation after the acquisition, you can certainly see a lift from being associated with Trump. It’s very, very good in that front. North America is good for everybody this year I think. We are getting business from Europe, which you can see in extra flights from Shannon. We can see an increase in tourism overall. What I would say is that the domestic traveller has been very late to book. People are still looking for value obviously. The recession has created that mindset but people need to take a vacation too. We have a good mix between weddings, the Americans coming in and the leisure traveller, particularly during the August holiday season,” he said.

“About 40% of our weddings this year are overseas bookings. We have over 10 weddings coming from either Canada or North America and we have the usual Irish contingent booking with us as well. Ray Kearney (Sales and Marketing Director) was out in Las Vegas at Travel Mart last week and he brought back a good few bookings for. While we have work to do in the winter on the golf course I’m hopeful that 2015 will bring in even more business,” Mr Russell added.

He said that most of the repair work on the golf course is complete but that work is still to be carried out on the protective dunes between Doughmore beach and the golf course. These were badly damaged last wintegeneral manager of Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland in Doonbeg,  has said the five star west Clare resort is currently experiencing its busiest month since opening in 2006.r.

“We have general play going on but once we get towards the back end of the year we hope to continue with improving the golf course. We need to work in association with the council on that (coastal protection) front. We have been in contact with them over the last couple of months but as regards putting our plans in place, they are still in train,” he said.

Plans are also being put in place to develop meeting, banqueting facility and leisure facilities.

“We’re working away on those plans at the moment. They don’t happen overnight. When the time is right we need to go and talk to the relevant authorities be that Clare County Council or Parks and Wildlife. We’re very busy with customers at the moment and members coming through,” Mr Russell  concluded.

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