Attention Golfers, and all who love Ireland golf vacations: Did you know that the island of Ireland boasts a quarter of the world’s natural links golf courses? Did you also know that the Royal County Down has been awarded numerous accolades, including the Best Golf Course in the World by Golf Digest? But that’s not all: the truly great thing about golfing in Ireland is that there’s far more to a golf vacation than just the challenge of the fairway!
5 Best Ireland Golf Vacation Destinations that Are Every Golfers Dream
In Ireland, it is possible to blend exceptional golfing with wonderful off-the-course golf vacation experiences. Check out these suggestions of things to experience beyond the fairway:
When Golfing in Northern Ireland
#1 Royal Portrush Golf Club, County Antrim, Ireland
You’re on the Causeway Coastal Route here, so this stretch of road is full of gems.
- Get your camera out at Dunluce Castle, an epic cliff-side ruin five minutes away.
- Or keep going until you reach the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an intriguing geological marvel.
- If you are looking for another excuse to play the Dunluce Links, then whiskey could be the answer. That’s because they’ve been distilling Old Bushmills just four miles down the road for the last 400 years – take a tour, and maybe sample a wee dram.
- Hunger may also strike, so go in search of a bite to eat at The French Rooms or the Tartine Restaurant at The Distillers Arms – both in Bushmills Village.
- Or pop into the eclectic Harbour Bar in Portrush, part of the Ramore complex of restaurants, which serves mouthwatering steaks on the bone beside roaring fires. Delicious!
#2 Portstewart Golf Club, County Londonderry, Ireland
The sands of Downhill Strand are a glorious sight, with views across the sea or upwards to Mussenden Temple.
- Portstewart is also on the Causeway Coastal Route, so maybe rent a bike from Causeway Cycle Adventures, and aim for the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge if you’ve got a head for heights…
- After all that fresh air, eat up at Harry’s Shack in Portstewart: a fishy mecca that’s received great reviews since it first opened its beach-front doors.
- For a post-dinner tipple, settle down in the award-winning Anchor Bar. Or check out the Walled City of Derry — take a tour, cross the Peace Bridge or check out its historic murals.
When Golfing near Dublin
#3 Portmarnock, County Dublin, Ireland
A purely natural course, Portmarnock has hosted
- 12 Irish Opens as well as the Walker Cup and the Canada Cup — now the World Cup of Golf — and
- Its finishing holes are regarded as some of the best to be found, well, anywhere.
You’re really just a short train journey or drive from Dublin city centre, but if you’re looking to hang out locally, head to Malahide! This coastal village is popular with day-tripping Dubliners who come to enjoy its Castle, the Georgian architecture, the marina, the beach and its great little cafés and pubs.
- Pop into the relaxed retro affair that is Gilbert & Wright’s Living Room, grab a coffee at The Garden House Café or
- Take a Fish and Trips boat ride to Lambay Island, a sure way to get rid of any lingering woes that befell you on the course.
When Golfing in County Kerry
#4 Ring of Kerry, Waterville Golf Links
Set on the world-famous Ring of Kerry, Waterville Golf Links has it all: a heady combination of dunes, gorse and native grasses, sod-faced bunkers and subtle putting surfaces. Then of course, there’s the ever-changing weather that rolls in from the wild Atlantic. Little wonder that it is regularly featured as one of the Top 100 Golf Courses in the World …
Waterville is blessed with glorious views over the Ring of Kerry, and an atmosphere adored by everyone from Charlie Chaplin to the late US Open and US PGA champion Payne Stewart. Stewart’s 19th hole was Waterville’s Butler Arms Hotel: “We get into the pub and get around a piano. I bring out my harmonica and the next thing you know it’s about 4am,” Stewart said of his post-round routine, usually in the company of fellow golfer Mark O’Meara.
- Nearby at Portmagee, it’s just as star-filled: this is the place where the folks filming Star Wars based themselves for Episodes VII and VIII.
- And you can enjoy stargazing of a different kind at the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve.
- Carry on exploring Killarney National Park, relaxing in Dromquinna Manor (you can dine out at The Boathouse Bistro while there), or
- Trying out any of the lovely old traditional pubs that line the streets of Killarney.
When Golfing at the Royal County Down Golf Club
You’re in Narnia now. Or should we say in the land that inspired CS Lewis to create the world behind the wardrobe.
- Scale Slieve Donard or
- Find the follies, grottos and Celtic myths that pepper its peaks and glens. This is Game of Thrones® territory, too – so check out the filming locations at nearby Castle Ward, exchanging club for broadsword and cloak!
- For a gentler outing, weave your way through Castlewellan’s Peace Maze or amble around Tollymore Forest Park – the source of the wood used to build the interiors of Titanic.
- Browse the antique shops in Greyabbey on the shores of Strangford Lough, or
- Head to Dundrum to shuck back oysters at Mourne Seafood Bar.
When Golfing on County Clare
#5 Lahinch Golf Course, County Clare
A beautiful natural course.
- Off the greens, be sure to enjoy the laid back vibes of Lahinch by watching the surfers test their mettle along the shoreline.
- Or take in the views at the Cliffs of Moher – from on top, or from below… cruise boats leave from the village of Doolin.
- With all that fresh air, you’re sure to work up an appetite, so Barrtrá Seafood Restaurant can come to the rescue with baked Doonbeg crab or fisherman’s broth.
- If you fancy somewhere to relax, then pop down to The Nineteenth pub for some live music, friendly conversation and a good old-fashioned welcome from the locals.
Interested in trying a golf vacation in Ireland out for yourself?
Our 2019-2020 Golf Vacation Offers
Below you’ll find some enticing Golf Offers for 2019 and 2020. Please contact us for rates and details, and to customize your golf vacation for you and your traveling party.
Golf Vacation Offer #1: St Patrick’s Festival of Golf 2020
- 4 nights in the 4-star Portmarnock Hotel, Dublin,
- 3 rounds of championship links golf at Portmarnock Links, The Island and St. Anne’s, VIP tickets to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin city on March 17,
- Tour day of Dublin city including tickets to EPIC the Irish Emigration Museum,
- VIP Vehicle and a
- Golf Ambassador 24/7 from arrival to departure.
Golf Vacation Offer #2: Golf & Stay in Kildare
- Enjoy an overnight stay in one of our Deluxe Lodge Bedrooms (Twin or Double) and
- Experience the challenges that Kilkea Castle Golf Course has to offer.
- Package Includes: Overnight Accommodation in Deluxe Lodge Bedroom, Full Irish Breakfast, Round of Golf, Free WiFi & Complimentary use of Tennis Courts.
Golf Vacation Offer #3: Northern Links & Whiskey Drinks
- A 6-Night/7-Day chauffeured tour with accommodation,
- 4 rounds of Top Links Golf Courses
Golf Vacation Offer #4: Open Golf Experience
Follow in the footsteps of the world’s greatest golfers with our
- 4-night/ 3-round Open Golf Experience.
- Enjoy some of the best golf courses in Ireland and luxury accommodation in The Bushmills Inn.
- The jewel in the crown of this itinerary is a round at Royal Portrush Golf Club, the home of the 148th Open Championship.
If you’d like to have more ease in your travel planning in 2019, I’d love to help!
You can stay informed and inspired in planning your travel by reading more of my blogs. You can also follow me on Facebook. Twitter @enlitndjrntrvl, and Instagram @enlightenedjourneystravel. Sign up to receive the blogs and a newsletter filled with more insights and offers so you don’t miss a thing.