Golf Holidays in Ireland - Our Top Destinations

Ireland is home to some of the finest championship courses and most spectacular golf in the world. Rob Smith recommends some of its many wonderful golfing destinations

Golf Holidays in Ireland
Adare Manor - the most beautiful parkland course in the country

Ireland is home to some of the finest championship courses and most spectacular golf in the world. Rob Smith recommends some of its many wonderful golfing destinations

Golf Holidays in Ireland - Our Top Destinations

With something like 400 courses, Ireland is a wonderfully scenic country for golf.

Home to many famous links, it also has a terrific number of inland courses of great beauty.

There are also plenty of the best golf courses in Ireland in close proximity to one another that make for a number of wonderful golfing destinations.

Golf Holidays in Ireland - Our Top Destinations

Dublin

Starting on the east coast, the area around Dublin’s fair city is a fabulous hotbed of extremely strong and varied golf.

Here, you could play somewhere different every day for a month and not run out of great new courses to enjoy.

The Island, Portmarnock, Portmarnock Links and Royal Dublin dot the coastline.

The Island - a historic but ever-improving and spectacular links to the east of Dublin

Less than an hour to the north is County Louth, and a little way inland, the Jack Nicklaus design at Killeen Castle.

Golf Holidays in Ireland

Killen Castle is a modern parkland design in a mature, historic setting

While a similar distance south is the superb Pat Ruddy design, The European.

Less than an hour south of the capital, The European is a modern classic

The South Coast

There are plenty of appealing stop-off points as you head south round the coast through Wicklow and Waterford.

Alternatively you can travel inland and stop off at the K Club or Mount Juliet.

Golf Holidays in Ireland

The Jack Nicklaus design at Mount Juliet, host of the 2021 Irish Open

The area around Cork is particularly strong for golf, with the excellent development at Fota Island as well as the memorable Alistair MacKenzie design at Cork itself.

Cork, or Little Island, is a delightful course packed with character and interest

You are now within striking distance of arguably the most visually stunning course in the UK&I.

Old Head is just to the south of the fishing village of Kinsale, and is literally breath-taking.

Golf Holidays in Ireland

Old Head is blessed with the most sensational and spectacular site for golf

The Lakes

As you continue west, the scenery continues to delight.

A little way inland, Killarney is a perfect destination with its own courses and access to other golfing highlights of great variety.

The short third on the Killeen Course at beautiful Killarney

Waterville is remote but an absolute must-play and more than worth a stay, while closer is the really engaging links at Dooks.

Golf Holidays in Ireland

Dooks is blessed with a picturesque setting and is extremely enjoyable

The West Coast

Continuing up the west coast, you can stop off at magnificent Tralee on the way to Limerick.

This river city is another great base for a golfing holiday.

There may be a little more driving involved, but from here you can play tip-top links such as Ballybunion, Doonbeg and Lahinch.

Historic Lahinch is a timeless links that hosted the 2019 Irish Open

You can also treat yourself to a round at the host venue for the 2027 Ryder Cup, the pristine and very beautiful parkland course at Adare Manor.

Golf Holidays in Ireland

Adare Manor - possibly the finest-conditioned course in Europe

And as ever, the neighbouring supporting cast is strong, often offering great value such as at Shannon.

The fabulous and very demanding par-3 seventeenth at Shannon

To The North

The journey north takes in many more courses that are superb such as Connemara, Enniscrone, County Sligo, Donegal, and Narin & Portnoo.

Golf Holidays in Ireland

The beautiful links at Donegal is flanked all the way by water and rolling hills

Arriving on the north coast, Rosapenna is a wonderful base for a trip with its two superb courses about to be joined later in 2021 by the new St. Patrick’s Links.

The thirteenth on the Sandy Hills Course at Rosapenna; a complete golfing resort

Still in beautiful County Donegal, you should try and play at Portsalon and North West.

Both are on the way to the two excellent links at Ballyliffin; the Glashedy and Old.

Golf Holidays in Ireland

The par-3 seventh on the Glashedy Course at Ballyliffin is played from way up high

Ireland is an absolutely glorious golfing destination with a vast treasure chest of golf that will cater for all enthusiasts.

Much of it is on the coast, but don’t forget the parkland beauties a little further inland.

With so much on offer, this article is just a starter to help you home in on an area.

Further research will reveal plenty of less well-known courses that perfectly complement those in the Golf Monthly Top 100 and Next 100.

The warmth of the welcome, and the scenery, are also a complete draw in their own right.

Ireland is a perfect destination for golfing holidays of any duration.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.