The arrival of legendary actor Bill Murray in Enniscrone on Sunday marked the final leg of his tour of the country, which included some of the best golf courses in Ireland.
he movie legend is here to film The Links Life, a series focused on golf in Ireland that will be broadcast to audiences worldwide on YouTube and other streaming platforms when completed. Murray is accompanied by noted golf writer Tom Coyne, who has long been a fan of links golf and Enniscrone.
Having already attended a slew of classes like Carne in Belmullet and Murvagh in Donegal, Murray and his entourage, including his family, arrived at the West Sligo Club on Sunday before heading to the Links themselves and the Dunes Championship Course in wonderful sunny weather.
Visitors also spent the weekend in Strandhill enjoying the panoramic sea views in one of Sligo’s most famous resorts.
The traveling contingent is said to be very impressed with the course in Enniscrone – considered one of the top tracks in the country – and their visit will have a huge impact on Enniscrone and the golf in that country when the series blows.
Murray’s life is intertwined with golf. Raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago, he starred as a teenager and, ironically, later in life starred in the 1980 hit film Caddyshack.
More recently, he and his brothers started a golf apparel company called William Murray Golf.
Filming for the series is being sponsored by Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland to “keep Ireland in the minds of future visitors from the US and elsewhere around the world”.
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the filming of The Links Life with Bill Murray.
“It’s a really great way to showcase Ireland and some of our top golf courses. Our goal is to remind viewers that Ireland has some of the best golf courses in the world, as well as spectacular scenery and fantastic experiences.
“The episodes filmed here will help keep Ireland ‘remembered’ by golfers in the US and elsewhere around the world.”
Other courses on Murray’s itinerary include four more courses in Donegal – Portsalon, Cruit Island, Narin and Portnoo and the highly acclaimed St. Patrick’s Links in Rosapenna, which recently opened and has already received rave reviews.
Other links courses on the list are Galway’s Connemara and Ballybunion in Kerry, while Murray will also attend the course at Galway Bay, Wicklow’s Druids Glen and the O’Meara Course at Carton House in Kildare.
The broadcast of the series will be a welcome PR boost for the golf industry in Ireland.
The pandemic has decimated the overseas travel market that was so important to courses like Enniscrone, Co Sligo and Strandhill in Sligo, as well as many others along the Irish coasts.
In 2019, golf tourism was estimated to be worth an estimated 270 million euros to the Irish economy, with around 200,000 foreign visitors arriving on these coasts each year, representing more than 1.7 million room nights.
Research has found that half of the visitors who come here to play golf are from North America, and each US visitor is worth an estimated $ 1,800 to the economy as a whole, with 80 percent of their spend being spent on non-golf activities.
With The Links Life broadcast, it is hoped that Enniscrone and Ireland will air in millions of households around the world.