Mr John O’Donoghue, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism joined forces with John Daly, one of world golf’s most popular players to open the Blarney Golf Resort, in Blarney, Co Cork, on Monday, 24 July, 2006.
The €50 million complex which has as its centrepiece a John Daly designed championship course also comprises a 62 bedroom Ramada Hotel, 56 luxury self catering golf lodges and the Sentosa Spa. The resort has been created on a magnificent 164 acre site in the beautiful Shornaugh Valley.
This is the first course to be designed by John Daly in Europe. A two time Major winner Daly has been one of golf’s great personalities since he burst on the world’s golf stage with victory in the 1991 US PGA Championship. He also won the 1995 British Open.
Blarney Golf Resort is the brainchild of local developer John Kelly and his partner Frank McCarthy who first announced the project in 2003. Since then they have joined forces with Ramada Inns who will be responsible for the overall running of the resort including the Ramada Hotel, the golf lodges and the Sentosa Spa. In charge of operations will be local Corkman, Tony Coveney.
The first phase of the development, the hotel, leisure centre and spa opened in December 2005. The second phase of the development, which opened today consists of the golf course and 56 four-star golf lodges. The complete project represents a major golf related integrated tourism development in an area previously accepted as being underdeveloped in tourism terms. The resort is less than eight miles from Cork City.
The John Daly designed golf course measures over 6,700 yards off the back tees although there is a selection of different tees to ensure playability for golfers of all standards. In designing the course Daly has made the most of the natural beauty of the heavily wooded Shornaugh Valley. The course consists of two nine hole loops with water coming into play on both the 9th and the 18th – thus creating spectacular views from the clubhouse. The classically designed greens feature support mounding and heavy bunkering. The greens are built to US PGA standard and are seeded with Penn A4.
The Ramada Hotel and suites which are fitted out to the highest standards have excellent views of the course. The hotel also incorporates a state-of-the-art conference centre and is the location for the Sentosa Spa and leisure centre. The spa features five treatment rooms.
The 56 golf lodges are on sale to private purchasers. These can be leased by Blarney Golf Resort who will use them to supplement the bank of accommodation available at the resort. All lodges include membership of the golf club and full use of the hotel and leisure facilities. All lodges are fully fitted out to four-star Failte Ireland standards.
Welcoming the development Minister O’Donoghue noted the importance of golf for Irish tourism, “As to potential for the continuing growth of Irish golf, we can point to research from Fà¡ilte Ireland which shows that the world has an estimated 60 million golfers, a growing number of whom are taking golfing holidays. Many of these golfers already hold Ireland in high regard, with UK golfers ranking Ireland second in the world for quality of golf courses and half of American golfers considering Ireland for their next golf trip. On the other hand, only six percent of US golfers have visited Ireland, so we have a perfect opportunity, through Ryder Cup 2006, to convert some of this awareness into a decision to visit this country.
Golf is an excellent example of sports tourism, attracting high spending visitors, who stay in high quality accommodation, travel throughout the regions and, again, according to Fà¡ilte Ireland research, show a high level of interest in Irish cuisine, culture and heritage. It is the quality of Blarney Golf Resort, along with others throughout the country, which will enable us to capture a greater share of the tremendous market that has now opened up”.
Speaking at the official opening Mr Frank McCarthy, the main developer of the project said that he was delighted with how the entire complex has come together. “It really offers everything that could be expected from a first-class resort – and all in a stunning location.”
Blarney Golf Resort www.blarneygolfresort.com