2016 Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation

Disability campaigner Joanne O’Riordan Caddies for Bluebird Care & Scott Hend at Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Golfing event promotes access for all

The 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at the K Club gave people of all ages and all abilities the opportunity to get close to the golfing action.

This year the tournament saw an extra special guest attending the Pro-Am event, which took place on Wednesday 18th May. Disability campaigner Joanne O’Riordan acted as caddie for pro golfer Scott Hend and an amateur golfer of homecare company Bluebird Care.

Joanne is a criminology student in UCC and is only one of seven people in the world living with a rare physical disability known as Total Amelia. This means she was born without all four limbs and even though there is no medical explanation as to why this happened, Joanne or indeed her family has never allowed it to hold her back.

Joanne is a huge golf fan and was very excited at the prospect of acting as caddie for European Tour winner Scott Hend and Bluebird Care’s amateur golfer.

“I’m super excited about being able to get on the course and keep both players focused,” said Joanne.

“And on a more serious note, all major sporting events as a matter of course should be fully accessible and audited for disability access. Disability and indeed reduced mobility can affect anyone at any time of their lives. I’m proud to be part of the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open to advocate for access for all.”

Managing Director of Bluebird Care and Joanne O'Riordan

For the fourth consecutive year the European Tour has partnered with homecare company Bluebird Care to provide event mobility services. Two accessibility viewing stands were built on the course which overlooked the 8th and 17th greens. The stands are accessible to wheelchairs and are specially built for people with reduced mobility.

Rory Colville, Championship Director of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, says:

“We have always tried to do everything possible to help people with disabilities or reduced mobility come to the Irish Open and enjoy a great event with a unique atmosphere. Our partnership with Bluebird Care Ireland allows us to do just that and we enjoyed working with them throughout the week to provide a first class service.”

Meanwhile, staff from the local Bluebird Care office in Kildare were on site throughout the tournament providing Personal Assistants, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Managing Director of Bluebird Care Ireland, says providing access for all was the motivation for his company to get involved.

“We provide these services at very little cost to the people attending and charge nominal fees to cover outlays. We were delighted to be once again providing event mobility services to The Irish Open so that young and old, families and groups can get close to the golf. Ability nor disability should not be factors in deciding to attend and enjoying an international sporting event.”

The 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation and won by Rory McIlroy took place at the K Club in Co. Kildare from the 19th to the 22nd May 2016. More information on the official website.

Photos by John Roche & David Dempsey

Caption: Joanne O’Riordan accompanying Managing Director of Bluebird Care on a practice round ahead of next week’s Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at the K Club.

Media Queries

European Tour: +44 (0) 7880 601008
Frances Jennings,

Bluebird Care / Joanne O’Riordan:
Joanne Sweeney-Burke, 087 6237373 /

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Accessibility-Friendly with Bluebird Care

Bluebird Care providing event mobility services at Royal County Down 

This week we are at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the third consecutive year ensuring the event is accessible to people of varying degrees of mobility. Hosted in Royal County Down Golf Club this year by the Rory Foundation, golf enthusiasts are predicting it to be an event to remember, hence why tickets for the event only remain for this Thursday. Read more here.

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

You can find Bluebird Care at stand 19, opposite the medical centre and if you need support or assistance to get close to the golfing action then please come and see us. Kieran Hallinan and Marty Kelly of Bluebird Care North East will be over-seeing event mobility services over the course of the tournament and are providing:

  • Personal Assistants
  • Wheelchairs
  • Scooters

You can pre-book your requirements by clicking here, or just come and see us at the event when you arrive. You can also email enquiries to

View photos from Royal County Down on our Facebook Page and stay tuned for more updates there.

Bluebird Care at the 2015 Irish Open 20150526_133113_resized 20150526_081043_resized