THE streets of Lahinch could be transformed into Europe’s biggest party zone during the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open this July.
With more than 40,000 people expected to descend on the village for the four days of competition in July, local businesses have put forward an ambitious proposal to close much of Main Street and even the Lahinch Promenade to traffic.
The proposal, which has been welcomed by Clare County Council, could see temporary seating, decorations and even stages erected in the village for the event.
“A group of vintners and local business people in Lahinch have put together a detailed proposal to close some of the streets in Lahinch to traffic during the Irish Open,” said Cllr Bill Slattery (FG) at last week’s meeting of the Kilrush Municipal District in Ennistymon. “The vintners want to see entertainment on the street, music on the street with seating and bunting – we could even see the promenade used. They want to co-operate fully with the council and the gardaí to make this happen. Maybe, if we can’t get a full closure for a day, we could get evening closures. We will never get this opportunity again. We want to show off Lahinch for what it is.”
The proposal was also supported by Ennistymon councillor, Richard Nagle (FF). “We will have media coverage from all over the world. We want to make the best use of the opportunity that has been presented to us,” he said.
“The council gets a lot of bad press but everyone has put an awful lot of time and effort in to driving this event [the Irish Open] and ensuring that we are showcasing everything we have in Clare.”
Clare County Council has indicated that it will consider the proposed road closure in Lahinch.
“Clare County Council welcome the initiative taken by the business people in Lahinch. the next step is that we meet with the local vintners who are driving this project,” said a council spokesperson.“If it is an evening [street closure] proposal there may be possibilities there, but we need to liaise with everyone who is involved in this decision.”
Clare County Council also indicated that projects in the area around Lahinch will be given priority in the early part of 2019, with projects in other areas likely to be delayed.