Tournament host Paul McGinley is promising to deliver a festival of golf this week when the Irish Legends presented by the McGinley Foundation returns to Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort from August 18-20.
Deprived of crowds on account of pandemic restrictions last year, McGinley is ready to make up for lost time and intends to recreate the atmosphere that made his hosting of the Irish Open at Lahinch in 2019 such a success; a festival-like celebration filled with off-course entertainment and fun for all the fans.
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“Last year was a huge success but we’re going to run this tournament at a completely different level this year,” said McGinley.
“We’re going to have a festival like we did down at Lahinch for the Irish Open in 2019. There’s a lot of work and planning gone into it. It’s one of my contributions to senior golf, trying to put on a really good event with some good prize money – relative to senior golf anyway!
“We’ll use Lahinch as a template and hope to have really big crowds. We’ve got the Gardai involved, Tourism Ireland, the County Council, Rosapenna again, and without the Covid restrictions we had to play under last year, there’s a huge opportunity this time around to showcase all that is great about Donegal.
“OK, we won’t have a huge amount of TV coverage – we will have highlights shows – but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a really great time doing it with street parties and live music and a lot of exciting stuff, too.”
With adult season and daily tickets for the Donegal event starting as low as €20 and €10 respectively, plus children under the age of 16 entering free, McGinley hopes golf fans will make the pilgrimage to the north-west where the region’s latest jewel in the crown, St. Patrick’s, is already making headlines around the world for all the right reasons.
“There’s three courses up there now and it’s just a great place to go – the hotel is excellent, the food is excellent. The scenery is just amazing,” McGinley said, whose parents hail from Donegal.
“I’m a big fan of Donegal as everyone knows. My heart is in Donegal and as much and all as the south-west gets the love of the people, I’m a big fan of the north-west and particularly around Donegal.
“I’m delighted to see St. Patrick’s come onto the radar up there. I’ve played the course, walked it. Tom Doak has done a great job, and what he’s done really well is create some great views.
“The other courses are more set down in the valley and you don’t really see the sea and the scenery but what he’s done really well is try to build the course more on top of the sand dunes and the result is breath-taking scenery. From most of the greens you can actually see the ocean and that’s not always the case with links courses.
“I’m delighted that it’s hit the ground running and the rankings are as high as they are. I think they are only going to go one way from here.”
The Irish Legends has attracted a number of big names to Donegal for this week’s event on the Old Tom Morris Links, including former Open champion Paul Lawrie, former Ryder Cup captain Mark James, and French pair Thomas Levet and Jean van de Velde.
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