The announcement that the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is to be held in Lahinch Golf Club in 2019 is a massive statement of confidence in the West of Ireland region as both a golfer’s paradise and tourism hub, Shannon Group said today.
Matthew Thomas, CEO of Shannon Group, which operates Shannon Airport, Shannon Heritage and Shannon Commercial Properties, said that the decision is another timely reminder of the uniqueness of the region for visitors. “This is a great decision at so many levels. It is a very positive statement about Lahinch, Ireland and region’s capacity to host such an important event and it also speaks volumes about the incredibly high standard of links courses up and down the west coast of Ireland. Lahinch is one of a number of internationally celebrated courses that people travel from across the globe to play here.
Shannon Airport is, of course, the premier gateway for golfers coming to play these golf courses and we’re seeing them coming in here in big numbers daily, now that the summer season is in full swing, and this drive numbers higher next year again and have a legacy beyond that.
“The significance of who the event sponsors are is also not lost on us. Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin is from this region and was a manager at duty free here when he was hand picked to go out to Dubai to set up what is now the world’s largest duty free.”
The Shannon Group CEO said that the hosting of the event in Lahinch will have a ripple effect way beyond the town itself. “This is great news for the wider region. It will attract tens of thousands and given Lahinch’s location on the Wild Atlantic Way, I expect that people will make it a week or even longer stay. They’ll come for the golf and stay for the rest, with the benefit felt across Clare and into Galway, Limerick and other adjoining counties.
“For Shannon Group, not only is it an opportunity for Shannon Airport to put on a big welcome for visitors but its sister company Shannon Heritage will be doing likewise at its visitor attractions in the region, like King John’s Castle in Limerick, Bunratty and Knappogue castles in Clare and Dunaguire Castle just up the road in Galway.”