THE fun at the 3 Irish Open wasn’t just confined to the golf course with many sideshows and tented village a particularly big crowd-puller.
It was buzzing on Saturday afternoon as the big screen showed live golf while the Heineken Sports Bar housed a good few anxious Kerry fans watching their county footballers battle against Down. The queue at the Hog Roast suggested a popular dining choice while the ladies, and a few brave men, took time out to enjoy the Pamper Zone.
Many of the fans mingled in the stands that included an interactive zone, food court, wine bars, pro shop, junior golf Ireland and Genworth Putts for Charity.
This as a new direction for the Open and Jenny Desaulles, client service manager with Fáilte Ireland, said it proved to be a big hit.
"We’ve had the highest numbers in years for an Irish Open and the tented village has been a very popular choice. It is going very well. The big difference this year is the focus on children. Families are coming in and they are staying."
"The reason behind it," explained Jenny, "is that the Irish Open had been dropping in numbers and it was attracting only core golfers, so what we wanted to do was expand our audience."
Desaulles believes the village’s popularity was down to the fact there was something for everybody, and said people were in and out all day long.
"For instance if you didn’t have any interest in golf, the spa areas were doing free manicures and massages. There was food sampling from Good Food Ireland and the pamper area was packed out.
"The kids’ zone was been mobbed every day. Bungee jumping, zorbing, trampolines, charity putting, there was loads for them to do."
The Genworth Putts for Charity was a big hit with the children. Their target for the week was to raise €15,000 but they had already exceeded that amount.
The coffers were boosted considerably when Genworth ambassador Ross Fisher took a putt with the financial group donating a €1,000 for his effort. Similar contributions were made for other notable personalities who attended. Children paid €2 with €1 going to charity.
"The tourist industry is very reliant on the domestic traveller at the moment. There is a lot to offer in Ireland. Through the Irish Open and the summer fest, Killarney demonstrated it has something for everybody."