The Hills are alive with celebrations as Lowry triumphs
There were euphoric celebrations in Shane Lowry's home county last night, as the golfer's family and friends toasted the biggest victory of his career to date.
Hundreds of locals flocked to his home course, Esker Hills in Co Offaly, to see the 28-year-old secure his first golfing title in the US, and a $1.6m pay cheque.
Lowry clinched a two-shot win at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio in dramatic fashion.
Leading the celebrations after Lowry pulled off an "impossible shot" on the tenth hole were his parents, brother Alan, fiancée Wendy and his beloved grandmother.
"All of his shots were cheered to the rafters. There was a big crowd and people poured in from all around to be here for the climax," said Donal Molloy, managing director of Esker Hills.
"I think it will be a long night. It is just incredible, we are delighted to have a hero."
The Lowry family had gathered in the clubhouse earlier that day as Shane's brother Alan was being honoured for winning the Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy last week.
And, even as Lowry was being interviewed after the win, he couldn't resist sharing the moment with his family at home.
"It's exciting for everyone," he said.
"It's just great for me and great for my family and everyone that supported me over the years."
Tributes poured in from all around the world, but Taoiseach Enda Kenny summed it up best when he said: "We are all so proud of your efforts this week."
"Shane had a brilliant victory after a marvellous performance over the four days of this key golf tournament," Mr Kenny said.
"Shane is a great ambassador for Ireland and for golf in Ireland. When he plays he wears his heart on his sleeve and proudly marks a shamrock on his golf ball."
Golfing legends also sent him messages of congratulations, and Paul McGinley said a "whole new world has opened up" for Lowry. "He deserved to win today," he added.
Darren Clarke also praised his form and said it was a "fantastic performance".
But the sweetest tribute came from younger brother Alan, who said it was the "proudest moment" of his life, adding that his big brother is his "hero".