The Best Golf Courses In Ireland

Ireland's coast is blessed with some amazing links and clifftop courses both modern and old

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ireland's coast is blessed with some amazing links and clifftop courses both modern and old

The 22 Best Golf Courses In Ireland

The isle of Ireland is home to some of the world's greatest links courses as well as some fine parklands too.

Below we have created a list of some of the best.

*Note: includes both Northern and Republic of Ireland

Royal County Down (Championship)

Looking back down the 3rd hole. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Rollercoaster fairways, blind shots and gloriously natural bunkering make this course one of the most stunning settings for golf anywhere in the world.

It is exhilarating and at times challenging. When the gorse and heather are in bloom it is an absolute picture.

A globally renowned venue blessed with sea views and the spectacular backdrop of the Mourne Mountains.

Royal Portrush (Dunluce)

The host of this year's Open Championship was always going to make the list.

The finishing holes have been drastically improved in order to host the event while the par-5 7th and par-4 8th are extremely impressive creations.

It's a course with many twists and turns as you go through the dunes.

Trump International Golf Links & Hotel, Ireland

Trump International Links Ireland

Set amid the incredible dunes overlooking Doughmore Bay, Greg Norman's brilliant layout has been further enhanced in recent times.

The course begins with one of the greatest opening holes in golf, a fabulous par-5 that takes you through the tunes to an amphitheatre green.

The European Club

Five holes hug the beach closely with the 12th green being particularly memorable in the fact it stretches a 9-iron from front to back.

Recent work has widened the fairways and there is now a larger 15th green up on the cliff.

A blend of fun and challenge.


With water on three sides, Waterville's setting is one of the most dramatic around

A timeless links course that is still relatively knew, though you wouldn't notice that.

It is almost completely surrounded by water with mountains in the background.

It's an excellent test situated alongside a peaceful, expansive and beautiful bay.

Ballybunion (Old)

The green on the par-4 11th hole stretching out down the coastline behind the Old Course.
(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Shouts of it being the Irish Pebble Beach may somewhat be true but the course carries its own charm.

It really takes off from the 7th hole onwards with some holes clinging to the clifftop while others edge through the sandy hills.

Adare Manor

Adare Manor Golf Club Course Review

This course had been closed for a full two years in order of a renovation.

State-of-the-art drainage has been installed with more than 6,600 square meters of new bunkering and completely new playing surfaces.

It is arguably the most Augusta-like experience anywhere this side of the pond.

Portmarnock (Red and Blue)

The par-3, 15th hole at Portmarnock Golf Club (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

One of Ireland's less dunesy links but it is still a top-quality and historic one.

It is an extremely fair test on a course that has hosted many a Irish Open.

Old Head

Many of the holes around here are breathtaking but that really ramps up at the turn.

The 12th is a sprawling par-5 played along a narrow spit of land while the new 13th is an incredible par-3 with the undulating green perched on the cliff's edge.

Lahinch (Old)

6th at Lahinch

6th at Lahinch

The design of this course has evolved over 125 years but a mix of raw nature and subtle architecture allows every shot in your armoury to be tested.

The fairways run through huge grass-covered dunes to fast greens with devilish run-offs.

There is a great mix of holes on the course that will host this year's Irish Open.

Rosapenna (Sandy Hills)

Rosapenna Sandy Hills

Sandy Hills is another fine example of Pat Ruddy's stirring modern links handiwork

One of Ireland's very best modern links and another one set amongst towering dunes that offer up glorious sea views.

When the wind is up, its tough.


An aerial view of the par 3, 3rd hole at Tralee Golf Club

Arnold Palmer's first ever European course design blends an understated front nine with a back nine of unrelenting magnificence.

A simply glorious and unforgettable setting for golf.

County Louth

County Louth Golf Club Course Review

A course set amid sand dunes with the wind and sea noise ever-present.

All four short holes and excellent putting surfaces stand out.

Ballyliffin (Glashedy)

The par-3 14th. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

The host of the 2018 Irish Open, the Glashedy is a thrilling links with a modern take.

Punishing bunkers, fast fairways and outstanding views make for an exceptional day's golf.

The Island

The Island golf club course review

One of the older links on the list, you get to play through towering dunes and you are flanked by sea on three sides of the course.

Druids Glen

Druids Glen Golf Course Review

A four-time Irish Open venue and one of the country's finest parkland tests.

Water comes into play on many holes but it is the back stretch which stands out the most. 12th, 13th , 17th (island-green) and 18th spring to mind.

Mount Juliet

Mount Juliet 10th Hole

10th at Mount Juliet

Tranquil, beautiful and at times generously open.

One of Ireland's wonderful modern parkland layouts.

Also is a Jack Nicklaus design.

County Sligo (Championship)

County Sligo Golf Club Championship Course Review

A superb and spectacular links overlooked by Benbulben Mountain as well as being encircled by the sea.

A classic Irish links.

Lough Erne

Lough Erne

Designed by six-time major winner Nick Faldo, this course is set in the lough alongside the Fermanagh lakelands, giving it fantastic views over the water.

A striking setting for a highly interesting and challenging track.

Enniscrone (Dunes)

The par-3 11th at Enniscrone (Getty Images)

There are surprises around every turn and it is nothing short of fun throughout all 18 holes.

The spectacular dunes are used to maximum and dramatic effect.

It will stay forever in the memory.

Portstewart (Strand)

The par-3 12th green. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

It has one of the most wonderful opening nines in golf, and to prepare for the 2017 Irish Open they made improvements to the back nine including the introduction of more dunes.

Ballyliffin (Old)

Ballyliffin Golf Club Old Course Review

The older sibling of Glashedy dating back to 1973, was upgraded by Nick Faldo in the 90s and is perhaps the more subtle and refined of the two wonderful courses.

Notable Mentions: Ardglass, Castlerock, Malone, Carne, Donegal, Dooks, Portsalon, Connemara, K Club, Narin & Portnoo

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