The Irish Links
Ireland is one of the worlds great golf destinations. Famous for its links golf with rugged coastline and massive sand dunes Irish golf is spectacular, to say the least. Its most famous courses rank amongst the worlds best with such links as Portmarnock, Ballybunion, Lahinch, Royal County Down & Royal Portrush being bucket list destinations.
The first record of golf in Ireland was a match held in 1852, however it was another 6 years before the first golf club was founded in 1858 at The Curragh Golf Club. Interestingly enough the club received Royal status in 1910 but didn't actually use the title until 2013. Ireland has now around 430 golf courses with a further 100 or so in Northern Ireland.
Ireland can be divided into several regions starting with the East Coast and Dublin. The great thing about Dublin is the close proximity of its links golf to the city centre. Nestled in on the the coast are Portmarnock Golf Club, The Island, Royal Dublin, Portmarnock Links and St Anne's. To the west of Dublin are the golf resorts of K Club and Carton House. North of the city is the wonderful links of County Louth and to the south is The European Club, designed and owned by Pat Ruddy, one of Irelands most famous golf course architects. Inland here from is the resort of Druids Glen, which has been described as the Augusta of Ireland.
Irelands main tourist route the 'Wild Atlantic Way' runs all the way down the west coast. Spread out along this coast are some of the most wild and rugged links golf in the world. Starting in the North West, in the county of Donegal is the golf resort of Rosapenna, as well the 36 holes at Ballyliffin, and the lovely Portsalon and Donegal golf clubs. Moving further down the coast we come across the superb County Sligo Golf Club, Enisscrone, the 36 holes at Carne and Connemara Golf Clubs.
As we move further down the coast we come across Lahinch Golf Club, re- designed by Alister Mackenzie in 1926 it is an absolute must play. Next up is Doonbeg Golf Club, designed by Greg Norman it is a classic Irish links with a superb 5* resort on site. Going further south is Ballybunion, Irelands number one ranked course.
As we move into Irelands South West is there Tralee, Dooks, Waterville and the new links at Hogs Heads. And lastly on Irelands south coast under Cork is the picturesque Old Head Links.
Along the way there are so many less known hidden gems that can perfectly compliment a golf trip to the Emerald Isle.
There is no shortage of good golf in Northern Ireland, Royal County Down has been ranked as the best course in the world, Royal Portrush is hosting the Open Championship in 2019 and Castlerock, Portstewart, Ardglass are also fabulous courses.
Click on photos for more region information