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Photograph by John Kelly.

Clare won’t miss Ryder Cup opportunities, says Council

COUNCIL CEO Pat Dowling vowed that the major opportunities offered to the region by having the 2027 Ryder Cup played in Adare won’t be spurned.

Just after it was announced that the tournament would be played in Adare, Dublin Airport came out with a now infamous tweet, in which it claimed it was the “key gateway” for the competition.

This resulted in a significant backlash in Clare, due to the slight on Shannon Airport, and something of the wording of the tweet was reflected in the motion Ian Lynch brought before Monday’s meeting.

“As the ‘real gateway’ to the planned Ryder Cup in 2027 I am requesting Clare County Council to establish and lead a joint marketing campaign with Limerick, Tipperary and Kerry County Councils to ensure a united approach that will maximise the potential of Shannon airport and the Shannon Estuary for the anticipated numbers of visitors and media attention this event will bring.”

He also asked that a cross directorate strategy be developed to harness and maximise the potential for cruise ships ahead of the event.

Infrastructure along the Shannon estuary could be identified and enhanced as well as visitor package bundles/itineraries developed “to attract visitors to experience what wonders Clare has to offer”, he said.

A written reply from the Council executive confirmed that plans are already being made.

“The Tourism Department in collaboration with the Clare Tourism Advisory Forum has begun preparations for the planned Ryder Cup. Such preparations have been included into this year’s Strategic Marketing Plan.

“The plan for this year, is to enhance the promotion of Clare’s top-quality links, coastal and parkland golf courses, via print and digital postcards as well as the ‘Visit Clare’ Calendar to be promoted internationally.

“The newly developed website www.visitclare.ie to launch later this year, will keenly focus on such assets in Clare with additional iconic golfing imagery to be provided for the Marketing Resource Bank.”

It said that Fáilte Ireland is working to improve golf tourism.

“Having consulted with Fáilte Ireland, it is confirmed that there is a new golf tourism development strategy being developed to ensure the region maximises the legacy benefits of hosting the Ryder Cup in Adare in 2027.

“This will include leveraging the suite of European Tour events being hosted in Ireland annually (Irish Open, Legends tour, Challenge Tour) as well as leveraging the publicity around the Ryder Cup being hosted in the mid-west region in 2027.

“Collaboration with the Shannon Region Sports & Conference Bureau will leverage the event to increase the hosting of Business Events and Conferences using the opportunity to showcase high-quality imagery and develop possible itineraries for delegates in Clare and the Mid-West.

“Fáilte Ireland’s guiding principles in the golf strategy will be to drive a balanced regional spread of visitors to the regions and a more even spread of golf visitors throughout the year.

“To achieve this Fáilte Ireland will be working closely with key stakeholders, local authorities, destinations and strategic tourism assets to fully leverage the potential benefits.
“Clare County Council will continue to work with Fáilte Ireland and neighbouring local authorities to make every effort in ensuring that the potential of Shannon Airport and indeed the County of Clare will benefit from one of the world’s greatest sporting event, being hosted in our neighbouring county.”

Councillor Lynch said that the Ryder Cup could be worth €150-€200 million to the region, with potentially 300,000 people attending. 

However he warned that the greater marketing power of Dublin could be an issue, and said that if the word is not spread about Shannon, “the default is going to be Dublin Airport”.

He also said that people are already opting not to rent out their houses, believing they will make huge money at the time of the Ryder Cup, and it had to be ensured that this does not become an issue over the coming years.

Councillor Lynch also urged the Council to look at the experience of other towns and villages close to previous Ryder Cup tournaments.

Mr Dowling said he completely shared the sentiment of the motion. He said that this week there would be a meeting with representatives of the local authorities in Galway, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary, as well as Shannon Group, and one of the items for discussion will be the Ryder Cup. 

He said that having the Ryder Cup played within a half an hour of Clare offers a major opportunity, which won’t be left unexploited.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.