Today at The Shambles Yard, the Armagh community including schools, golf clubs, tourism industry representatives and sports stars joined together to celebrate the return of The Open to Northern Ireland for the first time in almost 70 years.
Tourism NI’s community event, The Epic Journey to The 148th Open, rolled into Armagh on the third stop of its 500-mile journey. The celebration is taking place across every county in Northern Ireland, along with Dublin City.
The community got involved in the buzz and civic pride surrounding golf’s most prestigious championship coming to Northern Ireland in July, including snapping pictures and videos of Tourism NI’s giant #TheOpen letter sculpture made from 4,000 golf balls.
It is truly an epic year for Northern Ireland tourism as The 148th Open at Royal Portrush will be beamed live to over 600 million households across the world. It is set to attract more than 215,000 eager spectators, with a team of 6,000 staff and 350 volunteers warmly welcoming visitors. Unprecedented demand from fans wanting to attend The Open has led to record-breaking ticket sales and the Championship will be a sell-out on Championship Days for the first time.
Susie Brown, Director of Corporate Development at Tourism NI, said: “The 148th Open is the biggest event that Northern Ireland has ever held. We are delighted to be able to bring a part of it to Armagh and celebrate its return. The Epic Journey is engaging the community and golfing fans alike, with the opportunity to win coveted tickets to The Open at each stop. It has been a great occasion in Armagh as The Epic Journey is a wonderful way to take the excitement on the road.
“We are also partnering with Sport NI, golf clubs and councils at each Epic Journey event to drive interest and participation not only in golf, but also in all sport to ensure that hosting such a major event offers a lasting legacy for many years to come. We were so pleased to welcome local sporting heroes including Caroline O’Hanlon, Rebecca O’Reilly and Eugene Magee to join us in the celebration today.”
The Epic Journey to The 148th Open also brought Rory McIlroy’s replica Claret Jug, from his Open win in 2014 at Royal Liverpool, to Armagh for all to admire, including pupils from Armagh Christian Brothers Primary School, St Patrick’s Primary School, Saints and Scholars Integrated Primary School and Mount St. Catherine’s Primary School.
Fans can still book their place at Royal Portrush on Practice Days with a limited number of new official hospitality packages also remaining on sale. Visit TheOpen.com/Tickets.
For further information on Tourism NI’s ‘Epic Journey to The 148th Open’ campaign visit discovernorthernireland.com/epicjourney