Signage helps golf tourists get to British Open

Signage helps golf tourists get to British Open

15 August 2018

ROADS officials have vowed to do all they can to ensure a road closure does not hinder competitors and spectators making their way to Ardglass Golf Club for this week’s prestigious Girls British Open Amateur Championship.

Work is currently underway on a £625,000 scheme to resurface a stretch of the main road linking Downpatrick and Ardglass, with the work also including an upgrade of existing storm drains.

To facilitate contractors working on the upgrade between the Ballyclander Road junction and Tobermoney, the road is closed daily between 8am and 5pm. It is open each evening and at weekends.

With many of the golfers competing in the R&A tournament and spectators coming from across Ireland and the UK, appeals had been made to keep the road open by local politicians and Ardglass Golf Club officials ahead of yesterday’s start date.

However, roads officials said this was simply not possible due to the nature of the work and topography of the section of road they are working on, putting in place a diversion taking traffic through Downpatrick, into Killough and on to Ardglass. 

Competitors and spectators arriving into the district from the Castlewellan direction, will be directed into Clough and along the coastline to the golf course.

South Down MLA Colin McGrath and Ardglass councillor Dermot Curran — who had asked for the main road between the village and Downpatrick to remain open during the tournament — are disappointed this was not possible.

Mr McGrath said both men are also concerned about the impact the road closure is having on  those making their way to and from the tournament and on businesses in Ardglass.

“We have worked with Transport NI and they agreed to erect bespoke signage to guide visitors along an alternative route to the Ardglass course to ensure that their travel is uninterrupted. This is welcome news and I thank roads officials for their intervention in this matter,” he said.

The Assemblyman said he also looks forward to the new road surface “which should make driving safer and easier between Downpatrick and Ardglass.”

Cllr Curran said hundreds of people are expected to attend this week’s tournament which he described as one of the most prestigious ever to be hosted by Ardglass.

“There are concerns about the impact the road closure will have on those attending the tournament and indeed businesses in Ardglass,” explaining he has discussed theses with the district’s divisional roads manager, Simon Richardson.

“While Mr Richardson was sympathetic, he said the main road could not even be closed on one side and traffic lights erected to allow competitors and spectators to make their way to the tournament.”

Cllr Curran confirmed the roads chief also spoke with Ardglass Golf Club officials and said while the upgrade of the main road is particularly welcome, the scheme could not have been rescheduled as everything was in place to start.

“I have been assured dedicated road signs are in place to direct all those coming to the district for the Ardglass tournament and it is deeply unfortunate the road upgrade has coincided with a major tournament at one of Ireland’s top links courses,” he said.

Cllr Curran added: “I am delighted the R&A competition is being hosted in my home village and have no doubt it will be a success. Many of the competitors and spectators will be coming to our district for the first time and I have no doubt they will be highly impressed with the Ardglass course, but the village itself and the wider Lecale area.”