The thoroughbreds of the European Seniors Tour will be on parade at PGA National next year.

The AIB Irish Seniors Open will be held at Christy O'Connor Jnr's testing Palmerstown House track - a former stud farm in Co Kildare - from June 1-3.

The course played host to the Irish PGA Championship in 2005, when Padraig Harrington beat Damien McGrane and Stephen Hamill in a sudden death play-off.

Reigining champion Sam Torrance, who won the title in an exciting four-man play-off at Fota Island last June, is expected to defend his crown.

Andy Stubbs of the European Seniors Tour, said: "Over the past decade the AIB Irish Seniors Open has established itself as one of the key tournaments on our schedule and we are delighted to be able to bring it back to the many thousands of golf fans in and around Ireland's capital, especially in a year when the Irish Open on the European Tour is switching to Limerick.

"The PGA National Ireland will pose a fresh challenge to the majority of our players but knowing Christy as we all do, we are certain to find a tough test and a beautiful layout rolled into one."

O'Connor described his work at Palmerstown House as one of the easiest design jobs he had ever undertaken due to the quality of the land.

There are thousands of mature trees on a course which features water on 13 of its 18 holes.

Harrington was certainly impressed with the course, which measures a massive 7.419 yards off the back stakes.

He said: "Christy did a great job and it’s a beautiful golf course. But it’s also a stern test. It takes a lot of playing to get around there, certainly if the wind blows hard.

"But at least there is an opportunity to get up and down with the greens being as good as they are."

Chris Patey, Director of Golf at Palmerstown House, said: "Everyone associated with PGA National Ireland is eagerly anticipating the arrival of Europe's leading senior golfers next June and preparations are already underway for what I am certain will be a memorable few days of high quality golf.

"Christy O'Connor has created a world class layout where the players are given a feeling of tradition, excellence and quality - attributes that could equally be applied to the European Seniors Tour - and all of which serves to explain why it is the first course in Ireland to be given the PGA name."

The decision of sponsors AIB to continue to back the event for the 11th time since it was inaugurated in 1997, is a major boost to Irish golf now that the Ryder Cup is history.

AIB's Billy Andrews said: "Over the last ten years, the AIB Irish Seniors Open has formed a key part of AIB's golfing portfolio and build up to The 2006 Ryder Cup and we are delighted to remain involved in this successful event.

"In addition, AIB continued to support golf at the grassroots level in Ireland during 2006, through their sponsorship of the AIB Irish Amateur Open, Junior Golf Ireland and the Christy O'Connor Challenge."

Ireland will have at least three tour events in 2007 with the seniors at Palmerstown House, the Irish Open at Adare Manor and the Smurfit European Open at the K Club.

The Challenge Tour is also expected to announce an Irish event, with the Ryder Cup Challenge likely to move from Killarney to the Limerick area.