The Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Joe McHugh, T.D., officially opened Phase One Development at the Magheragallon Golf Links in Gaoth Dobhair on Saturday.
This Gaeltacht club which was founded in 1926 now has fourteen holes, nine developed on the club’s own land and five on the commonage. The club hope to have an eighteen hole course developed to mark the 90th anniversary of the club.
In his address Minister of State McHugh was loud in his praise for the fine amenities provided by the Gaoth Dobhair Golf Club and said great credit was due to the club for the work. He said there is a lot of history associated with this club. It was only a nine hole course when it was established in the twenties and the first green keeper was the late Jack Phaidí Fheilimidh Curran, who lived a short distance from the course. The minister said golf brings people together and added it was an excellent form of recreation. He paid tribute to the club for giving the opportunity to youngster to learn the art of playing golf. He wished the club every success in the future. Minister McHugh added he was not a golfer and said he set a target of twelve months to become a fluent Irish speaker and hopefully within the next twelve months he aims to become a golfer.
The President, Hughie Doherty thanked Dinny McGinley, T.D., for his support to the club when he was Minister of State for the Gaeltacht. He expressed gratitude to all the kind sponsors, the Captain Emmet McGee, vice Captain, Mícheál Doherty , Lady Captain, Bríd Uí Chearnaigh and vice Lady Captain, Bríd Mhic Cumhaill.
He thanked everyone who helped to develop the new greens and he had a word of praise for Eoghan Gillespie and the greenkeeper, Séamus Diver who will be retiring from his position shortly after twenty three years.
The Captain, Emmet McGee said it was a historic day for the club. From a very humble beginning when the then club only had a small tin hut at the graveyard in Magheragallon. He praised the former captains in the 60’s including Michael James Gallagher, P.J. Doherty, Nonnie Gallagher and Johnny Breslin. He said they had a vision to expand and improve the links at Magheragallon. He said a lot of development has taken place during the past forty years with the additional greens and the provision of a spacious comfortable clubhouse. He thanked Dinny McGinley, T.D., for his continued support, all the sponsors, Eoghan Gillespie for all his help in the past seventeen years and also the greenkeeper, Séamus Diver.
He thanked the various people working with schemes at the club and added without their help we would not be here to open the new development. He praised Galf na nÓg under the direction of Nigel Ferry and added it was a great honour for him to be captain this year.
Dinny McGinley, T.D. said he was happy to provide support to the club and added he hoped the financial aid provided for a sprinkler system was not a waste of money in view of amount of rain we had this summer.
He praised the club for providing equal opportunity to women and youngsters to play golf. He said with the advent of the Wild Atlantic Way there are excellent facilities now at Magheragallon to cater not only for locals but also the visitors who will be coming to the area.
Pearse Doherty, T.D., said the day was not only a big occasion for the club but also for the parish of Gaoth Dobhair. He praised everyone involved in the new development and he promised every assistance to the club. He said he was delighted with the large number of school children who are members with the club.
Edel Ní Chuireáin, Ceannaire of RTÉ – Raidió na Gaeltachta former member of the club congratulated the club for their achievement of Phase 1 and added no doubt they will succeed in implementing the proposed Phase 2. She complemented the club for their work in enticing young members to the club and said ‘Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí’.