Republic of Ireland news

J P McManus: Irish billionaire 'wants to bring Ryder Cup to Co Limerick'

US golfer Tiger Woods in conversation with JP McManus (left) during the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am Tournament at Adare Manor in 2010. File picture by Julien Behal, Press Association
Claire Simpson and Ed Carty

BILLIONAIRE Irish businessman JP McManus has said he would like to bring the Ryder Cup, one of the biggest sporting competitions in the world, to Co Limerick.

The horse racing tycoon, who formerly had a major shareholding in Manchester United, bought the five-star Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort for around €30 million in 2014.

Speaking yesterday at the announcement of 300 new jobs for Adare Manor, which is due to re-open in September, Mr McManus spoke of his dream to host the golf tournament, perhaps as early as 2026.

"The Ryder Cup is a very, very big ask, and like every other golf club in Ireland, we'd be delighted to host the Ryder Cup, but it's one of (my) long term dreams," he told the Irish Independent.

"The soonest possible time would be 2026, if you're ever going to get it. But there's an awful lot of tough competition from within Europe and Britain, and I'm sure from the rest of Ireland.

"I do believe we have the facilities and an area and a venue that can cater for it."

Mr McManus, one of Ireland's richest men, has close links to the golfing world and has previously hosted Pro-Am tournaments at Adare Manor in 2005 and 2010, attracting star golfers including Tiger Woods, Darren Clarke, Ernie Els and Colin Montgomerie.

The Limerick-born businessman is one of the most important owners in National Hunt racing. His champion racehorses have included Champion Hurdle winner Istabraq and Don't Push It who won the Grand National in 2010.

The Ryder Cup, a competition between teams from the US and Europe, is held every two years and has only been staged in Ireland once - at the K Club in Straffan, Co Kildare, in September 2006.

That event, watched by TV audience of hundreds of millions worldwide, resulted in a convincing win for Europe's team including Irish players Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley.

Adare Manor has been closed for more than a year as extensive refurbishment takes place.

Redevelopment of the resort and its 840-acre estate includes a new swimming pool and cinema, a new wing of bedrooms, a boardroom, a 350-seater ballroom and a championship golf course designed by Tom Fazio.

Darren Clarke from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, playing during the Irish Open at Adare Manor in 2008. Picture by Press Association

Former champion jockey and keen golfer Tony McCoy, who was at the announcement yesterday, said there wouldn't be "any golf courses like it in Ireland" and he was looking forward to playing it.

It has been estimated that the resort will bring about €15 million to the local economy and about 60,000 visitors to the area every year.

Recruitment for jobs in management, catering, general hotel work and the spa is to begin in the coming months.

Colm Hannon, Adare Manor chief executive, said there has been big interest in the positions from people wishing to return home from overseas.

Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell-O'Connor said the posts, as well as the 600 construction jobs during the refurbishment works, were a huge boost to the area.

"It's also great to see the Adare Manor resort being redeveloped, given the importance and benefit of tourism to the region," she said.

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