Tourism NI recently launched The Epic Journey to the 148th Open, to mark the return of The 148th Open Championship to Northern Ireland for the first time in almost 70 years. The local Fermanagh community, from schools, golf clubs, tourism industry representatives and sports stars, are being invited to join the excitement at Enniskillen Castle today (Thursday March 14) from 11am to 1pm.

The community event will take place across every county in Northern Ireland, along with Dublin City, and will be rolling into Enniskillen on the second stop of its 500-mile journey.

The Epic Journey to The 148th Open aims to get the Fermanagh community involved in the buzz and civic pride surrounding the return of golf’s most prestigious championship to Northern Ireland in July. The Championship has already achieved record-breaking ticket sales as the first ever Open to sell out.

It is truly an epic year for Northern Ireland tourism as The Open Championship at Royal Portrush will be beamed live to over 600 million viewers across the world. It is set to attract 190,000 eager spectators, with a team of 6,000 staff and 500 volunteers warmly welcoming visitors.

Leanne Rice, Golf Marketing Manager at Tourism NI, said: “The 148th Open is the biggest event that Northern Ireland has ever held. We are delighted to be able to bring a part of it to communities within NI and celebrate its return. The Epic Journey will engage the community and golfing fans alike, with the opportunity to win coveted tickets to The Open at each stop. It is sure to be a great occasion and The Epic Journey is a wonderful way to take the excitement on the road.

“We are also partnering with Sport NI, golf clubs and councils at each Epic Journey event to drive interest and participation not only in golf, but also in all sport to ensure that hosting such a major event offers a lasting legacy for many years to come.”

The Epic Journey to The 148th Open tour will bring Rory McIlroy’s replica Claret Jug, from his Open win in 2014 at Royal Liverpool, to each location. Along with a giant #TheOpen letter sculpture, designed by Tourism NI and made out of 4,000 golf balls, unveiled by global golfing hero and former Open Champion, Rory McIlroy, last October.

Rory McIlroy commented: “The Open returning to Portrush is massive for Northern Ireland, everyone is so excited and is getting behind it. I never thought I would have the opportunity to play in a major championship at home and I’m really looking forward to it. You can really feel the buzz here already, it’s going be a fantastic year as we get ready to welcome The Open for the first time in over half a century.”