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Irish Open 2015: Excitement mounting as tournament tee-off looms

By Christopher Woodhouse

With 90,000 fans due to swamp Newcastle this weekend for the Irish Open, the seaside town has pulled out all the stops ahead of the hotly anticipated event.

Newcastle councillor Laura Devlin said the excitement in the town ahead of the competition was palpable.

"The buzz about Newcastle at the minute is superb - all the local traders have embraced the event, with their windows done up," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"We've got a really good fringe event festival planned and even trying to get a restaurant reservation could be difficult as nearly everywhere is booked.

"On the Friday and Saturday we have a food village at Castle Park and there's also a screen in the centre of town for those who can't make it into the course.

"Come out and experience the town, there are so many nice boutique shops and restaurants in Newcastle, there's just so much to do and the scenery is fabulous."

With fears that the town could grind to a halt due to the huge influx of traffic expected over the four days of the tournament, Ms Devlin said it would be busy but "business as usual".

Translink is laying on a free 'park and ride' shuttle bus service in Newcastle running to and from the event.

There will be extra bus services from both Newry and Belfast to Newcastle and a special bus transfer from Newry station for Enterprise passengers.

Royal County Down Golf Club captain Kenneth McCaw said: "The town, course and golf club are ready to host what we hope will be a successful and enjoyable tournament.

"Let's hope we are blessed with good golfing weather."

Chef and proprietor of Vanilla restaurant in the town, Darren Ireland, is expecting a bumper weekend with unreserved tables said to be rarer than hens' teeth.

However, the restaurateur hopes the event will benefit all traders.

"Its a great chance for all the local businesses especially in the restaurant trade to showcase all our local produce and let everybody see what Northern Ireland and certainly Newcastle has to offer," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph