‘Ireland for me’: mainland Europe gripped by conversation about Millennium Tennis Centre

Official word of Ireland’s submission: a stunning, historic facility where one afternoon earlier this month it held a Ryder Cup already attracting much-needed publicity for the state

The incredible National Heritage Tourism Board bill released at No 10 Downing Street earlier this year that included the phrase “Ireland for me” seems to have touched a nerve.

Now Ireland has submitted a proposal as the site for the 2027 Ryder Cup, bidding against the 2020 Manchurian Derby site on the outskirts of Shanghai.

National heritage minister Heather Humphreys will today announce the venue as Adare Manor, in County Limerick, which was built in 1835 by English admiral Sir Francis Drake after he had seized it from the French in 1565, only to be heavily-sanctioned to restore it.

It was originally built as a private mansion and though used as a prison by the Edwardian government in the following century, its tremendous Tuscan-style gardens (adventurer Steve Alten call it “Ireland’s answer to Versailles”) attract skiing groups year round.

Adare became a wildlife park in 1949, but in recent years it has been open to visitors, with those on the original tour remembering catching 25 bird’s eye rays of sun in one hour.

Lady Humphreys was a member of the Macmanus commission which reported on the Tour of Ireland in 1973. Her announcement will generate little more than a murmur in the British press. But she is, along with Mac Manus, a famous supporter of the Irish Government. In March 2010 she came down hard on the Government’s reduced spending, telling Moleshoe whitewater rafting was “not a subject worth combating”.

Yet minutes from her Dáil question time a month later were on the same page: “The Department of Finance tells us that efficiency savings of €90m have been made from budgets in the Departments of Transport, Tourism, Sport and Education. That is just too much. Adare is on its knees with over €4m deficit. Where is the rectitude? I would find an audience on this ground.”

An international tender is due in June.

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