Sun brings a smile to team behind Fota’s Irish Open event

Rory McIlroy has never even seen Fota Island, let alone played it. But if the hard work of organisers is anything to go by, he and his fellow players will be wowed not only by the three championship golf courses set in beautiful parkland, but also by the structures in place to make this week’s Irish Open one of the best ever.

Sun brings a smile to team behind Fota’s Irish Open event

As Cork gets ready to welcome 156 European Tour professionals, the weather has remained kind to EventServ, Ireland’s largest event support services group which has transformed Fota Island into a world-class viewing venue for the 100,000 visitors expected to attend between tomorrow and Sunday.

The Irish Open will also be broadcast to golf aficionados in 200 countries.

“The weather makes a huge difference,” says Paul Griffin, managing director of EventServ, which has also put in the infrastructure at Musgrave Park in the city for the Il Divo concert on Saturday night.

“Even more important than the weather is the relationship we have with our customers. We have an excellent relationship with both the PGA and Munster Rugby,” says Griffin, explaining that a lot of hard graft goes into planning an event of this scale.

The Il Divo concert is expected to attract 14,000 and a separate EventServ team was put in place for that project. The company will deliver 46 projects this month alone and a team has already started work on the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow which open in the last week of July.

“Each event we do comes with its own set of challenges and it is our job to make sure the event set-up occurs seamlessly and without incident.”

“The Irish Open takes 900 man hours to install and de-rig, and we use over 750 meters of crowd control barriers and many stands of tiered seating to make sure the public are kept safe, whilst still enjoying great views of the golf.

While some venues have all-round access for construction crews, golf courses are a bit more delicate. “There is a lot of course etiquette to observe in Fota in terms of how we operate,” says Griffin.

“Fota is a fantastic venue for an event such as this, and we are all looking forward to it.”

“We do everything from one man in a van to being the main contractor for the biggest security operation in the history of the state — the two state visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Barak Obama in 2011.

“We also like to work with local contractors and spend our money locally. That is part of our ethos.”

The Irish Open numbers game

- One press platform for national and international press.

- One custom scoreboard for the 18th green.

- 1km of temporary fencing.

- Nine course scoreboards.

- 40 flag poles.

- 750 metres of crowd control barriers.

- 761 temporary tiered seats.

- 900 ‘man hours’ for the installation and de-rigging.

Councils join forces for Open welcome

Cork County Council and Cork City Council jointly hosted a welcome reception yesterday for golfers, their families, dignitaries, and organisers of the Irish Open.

“Those who travel here from all over the world, can be assured of a warm and unforgettable experience,” said county Mayor, Cllr Alan Coleman, speaking at the event in Fota House.

“We hope visitors make the most of their visit and use the opportunity to travel out and around Co Cork.”

The city’s deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Kenneth O’Flynn, saluted the return of the Irish Open to Fota. “The world will see what a great place Cork is to visit and this exposure is invaluable,” he said.

Tony Lenehan, head of golf tourism at Fáilte Ireland, pointed to some recent research it had conducted which revealed that the golf sector provides a total overseas spend of almost €250m for the Irish economy.

He added: “Golf is good for tourism and good for business. The arrival of this year’s Irish Open will provide a robust boost to the local economy in Cork and also provide a great platform to promote all of Ireland as a great golfing destination to viewers throughout the world.”

Antonia Beggs, championship director at PGA European Tour, said the support from Cork’s City and County Councils has been unprecedented.

“Fota Island Resort has been instrumental in bringing this great event back to the area and our thanks go to the Kang family and chief executive Jonathan Woods and his team for all their dedication and enthusiasm.”

Cork City and County Councils are joint associated sponsors of the 2014 Irish Open.

For further information on the Irish Open see irishopen.ie.

Irish Rail has reminded golf fans attending that the easiest way to travel to and from the golf is by train.

“With 23 scheduled services each way daily between Cork and Cobh serving Fota Station, and extra services operating for supporters, the 14-minute train trip from Kent Station in Cork city centre will ensure a hassle-free start and end to a day at the Open,” it said.

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