In a period of less than eight weeks there has been a sustained worldwide focus on golf, golfers, golf courses, golf course owners and golf competitions in Ireland. It started when the US President came to stay at his five-star facility in Doonbeg, Co. Clare which sports a top class links course. This was followed less than a month later by the hugely successful staging of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Lahinch, Co. Clare. Last weekend saw a remarkable double with the very successful staging of the British Open at Portrush, Co. Antrim which was won very comprehensively by Offaly man Shane Lowry.
Golf in Ireland again makes the global headlines today with the announcement that the 2026 Ryder Cup will be played at the JP McManus-owned 17th Century Adare Manor in Co. Limerick.
It was widely expected that the Cabinet, which was meeting in Donegal on Thursday, would approve a memo brought by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross to commit funds to licence the event. Irish Government representatives met with European Tour in Paris at the 2018 Ryder Cup, which attracted over 200,000 visitors. In April of that year JP McManus had hosted an exhibition golf game at the newly refurbished and re-designed Adare Manor. Among the players who played on the day were Paul McGinley, Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy.
That exhibition game was also attended by the PGA European Tour CEO Keith Pelley. Those in attendance were told by JP McManus that the course re-design and upgrade were done specifically with big tournaments in mind. Adare Manor is regarded as one of the finest parkland golf course in Europe. The Ryder Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the calendar and it was last hosted in Ireland when it came to the K Club in Co.Kildare in 2006.
In November of 2018 the government signalled its interest, following the September meeting and negotiations commenced between the interested parties. These included The European Tour, Irish Civil Servants, Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland. Agreement was reached during the Irish Open in Lahinch in early July.
To licence this, the Irish Government must commit a sizeable sum of money that would be used for infrastructural upgrades in the surrounding area. This, it is believed will include a commitment to build the long awaited by-pass of the historic tourist hub that is Adare village. Other costs to be incurred by the state will include marketing, traffic management, policing and waste management.
The amount of money required from the Irish Government has not been confirmed but it will run into the tens of millions of euro. The return to the Irish economy is expected to be on the region of €90million to €160million.
Golf Tourism is one of the best and most lucrative tourism niches and Ireland has a relatively poor sporting infrastructure. Therefore we cannot accommodate major rugby or soccer matches as we have seen over the last number of years. Considering the wealth of quality championship golf courses we have on the Island it makes huge economic sense to exploit the significant and lucrative Golf Tourism market that is essentially based in the United States. The biennial face-off between the US and Europe is seen by almost a billion people worldwide.
The announcement that the 2026 Ryder Cup would be hosted at Adare Manor was made on Thursday afternoon by Guy Kinnings, European Ryder Cup Director. He said that the Irish Government made it possible and is “in receipt of our grateful and heartfelt thanks.” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said “it will be a fantastic occasion for everyone on the island of Ireland, and for the many visitors from both sides of the Atlantic who can look forward to another great Irish Welcome”.
The owner of Adare Manor, JP McManus said he was “very happy”.