Horse racing mogul JP McManus has spoken for the first time about his "dream" of bringing the prestigious Ryder Cup golf tournament to Adare, Co Limerick, writes David Raleigh.
McManus, from rural Martinstown, near Kilmallock, hopes to beat off stiff competition from across Europe to host the biennial tournament between golf's elite players from Europe and the United States in 2026.
McManus hopes to bring the event to Adare Manor and Golf Resort in Limerick, which he purchased for around €30m in 2014.
The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Scotland, brought in £70m for the tour, up from £50m for the 2006 event at The K Club in Co Kildare, and £60m from the 2012 match at Celtic Manor, Newport.
McManus arrived today at Adare Manor by helicopter, to announce the creation of three hundred jobs ahead of a major revamp of the five star resort.
The businessman, praised the 670 constitution workers on site for keeping the massive project on schedule to reopen next September.
"I didn't put a lot of work into it, but a lot of people have. They are anxious to meet the deadlines which should be later in the year," Mr McManus said.
"For me, Adare is a very very special place, and I'm delighted we were in a position that we could do something about it, and it's got great support from everybody in the county and we've got a lot of encouragement."
"I just hope everybody's expectations will be met," added McManus, whose eldest son, John, was one of those working on site as part of the massive construction project today.
Mr McManus opened up for the first time about his dream to host the Ryder Cup at Adare in 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 said.
"The soonest possible time (to host it) 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 said the revamped Manor and adjoining 18-hole championship golf course promise to make it a world-class venue.
"Hopefully so…you start off with that plan, and as I said, hopefully it will meet everybody's expectations,"
Minister of State, Sport and Tourism, Patrick O'Donovan said the revamped Adare Manor resort "will play a very significant role in terms of the marketability of Ireland, especially in North America, where over a million people visited Ireland last year between the US and Canada".
Seventy per cent of Adare Manor's annual business comes from the North American marketplace, a spokesperson said.
"We want to grow that market, and that's why new (transatlantic) routes Shannon and Dublin, and even Cork now with a transatlantic route, is going to play a major role in the development of tourism," added Minister O'Donovan.