John O’Donoghue, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism in Ireland revealed the plans for the Ryder Cup 2006 Opening Ceremony to be held at the K Club, Co. Kildare today. The ceremony will be a significant event as Ireland aims to maximise its exposure to hoped for 1 billion worldwide TV audience.
In an interview with RTE Radio 1 (Ireland’s national radio station) the Minister announced that the extravaganza is to be be in the spirit equivalent to a World Cup or Olympic Games opening ceremony. It is to be held on Thursday September 21st. The showcase will no doubt try and generate the same effect as the Riverdance phenomena achieved following its showcase at the Eurovision Song Contest when it was hosted by Ireland in 1994.
Indeed a new Ryder Cup anthem is to be performed by one of Ireland’s eminent traditional music players, Donal Lunny and will include a pageant by over 300 actors including from the famous theatre group Macnas. It will be attended by all the players, dignataries and the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese. It will be hosted by the RTE television personality, Sharon Ní Bheoláin
In the same interview the Minister also defended the money which has been given by the state to host the event. €9.4M is needed to secure the event of which half was donated by the Irish Government and half was met through private sponsors. With an estimated return of €150M however it seems like a sound investment. Finally, the Minister also defended the K Club course following the highly critical article written by Bruce Selcraig in the Irish Times last week. The Minister, although admitting to knowing little or nothing about golf, pronounced the course “challenging” and said the players were “alive with anticpation” to get to play there.