Ireland's 30 top golf getaways
Published 13/09/2015 | 02:30
With stunning scenery, some of the best courses in the world and luxury hotels, our golf destinations have it all
1 POWERSCOURT HOTEL
Formerly operated by Ritz Carlton, and now by Marriott, the luxurious Powerscourt Hotel offers guests the opportunity to play at Powerscourt Golf Club, with its spectacular views of The Sugar Loaf, voted Ireland's Best Parkland Course in 2014. The East Course was designed by the successful Walker cup captain, Peter McEvoy, following the contours of the landscape. The West course was designed by David McLay Kidd (responsible for Bandon Dunes in Oregon) and is a challenging, rewarding and enjoyable course.
Where Powerscourt, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow
Details (01) 274 8888, powerscourthotel.com
Price Overnight B&B, with dinner in Sika restaurant and one round of golf per person on either course costs from €430 pps.
Home to two championship links courses in one stunning coastal location, golfers have been coming to Rosapenna since the late 19th century when the Old Tom Morris course was ranked third in the British Isles after St Andrews and Royal County Down, attracting players of the calibre of Harry Vardon, James Braid and Tom Ball. A second course, the Sandy Links, designed by Pat Ruddy, opened in 2003 and is now one of Ireland's finest modern links courses.
Where Downings, Co Donegal
Details (074) 91 55301, rosapenna.ie
Price Three nights' dinner, B&B with golf on the Old Tom Morris links costs from €330 pps.
3 SHEEN FALLS LODGE
Possibly one of the best located hotels in the country, situated on the Wild Atlantic Way, between the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Beara, Sheen Falls looks out over the waterfall from which it takes its name. The hotel doesn't have its own golf course, but it does have arrangements with the nearby Ring of Kerry parkland course and the Waterville championship links course.
Where Kenmare, Co Kerry
Details (064) 664 1600, sheenfallslodge.ie
Price There's an October offer of two nights' B&B in a classic room, with dinner on one night in the newly re-launched The Falls restaurant, and a round of golf at both courses, plus use of the leisure facilities in the Easanna Spa, from €830 for two persons sharing.
4 Trump Doonbeg
Designed by two-time Open champion Greg Norman, the 18-hole championship Doonbeg links course spans 1.5 miles of crescent-shaped beach and century-old sand dunes along Doughmore Bay, with views of the Atlantic from 16 of 18 holes. The speed and direction of the wind causes consistent variation in play and the average time taken for a round of golf is four and a half hours. The par-72 layout features a single loop of nine holes out and nine back, playing 6,885 yards from the back tees.
Where Doonbeg, Co Clare
Details (065) 905 500, trumphotelcollection.com
Price B&B with a round of golf costs from €405 pps, with other packages offering a round on each of the Doonbeg and Lahinch courses also available.
5 CARTON HOUSE
Carton House, three-time host of the Irish Open and within easy reach of Dublin, is located on the beautiful Carton Estate and on the banks of the River Rye. It is home to two of Ireland's finest parkland championship courses, The O'Meara and The Montgomerie, each offering an experience coveted by all golf enthusiasts. The challenging Montgomerie Course, designed by Colin Montgomerie, covers a 7,300 yard links-style course encompassing fairways, bunkers and greens. The O'Meara Course, designed by 1998 Open and US Masters champion Mark O'Meara, skirts the banks of the River Rye and changes to the 1st and 18th holes in 2014 have been widely welcomed.
Where Maynooth, Co Kildare
Details (01) 505 2000, cartonhouse.com
Price An overnight stay with a round on either of the two courses costs from €89 pps including full Irish breakfast.
6 DROMOLAND CASTLE HOTEL
The luxurious five-star Dromoland Castle occupies a magnificent 400-acre estate in Clare, adjacent to what is regarded as one of the finest 18-hole parkland golf courses in Ireland. The challenging par-72 course was originally designed by the renowned American course designer, Brook L Wigginton, and in 2003 was redesigned and updated by architect, Ron Kirby, and Irish golfing legend, JB Carr. The course plays 6,824 yards for men and 5,242 yards for women, with its 18 holes spread across 450 acres of woodland, pasture, lakes, and streams against a backdrop of the magnificent 16th-century castle.
Where Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare
Details (061) 368 144, dromoland.ie
Price The Royal Golf package includes B&B, green fees, buggy hire and a steak dinner in the clubhouse from €301.50 pps.
7 CASTLEMARTYR RESORT
The five star Castlemartyr combines a 17th-century classic manor house and a luxurious contemporary wing, and its grounds feature a swan lake, golf course, the ruins of an 800-year-old castle and impeccably-restored parterre gardens. Inside there are two restaurants, a pool and a luxurious spa. The links-style golf course and stylish and contemporary pavilion clubhouse are popular with golfers from home and abroad, the course a stimulating 18-hole, 6,790-yard, par-72 challenge from renowned designer Ron Kirby, suitable for players of all calibre.
Where Castlemartyr, Co Cork
Details (021) 421 9000,
Price The 'Stay and Play' package includes B&B, dinner and a round of golf for two and costs from €291 per room per night. Golf must be booked prior to arrival.
8 MOUNT JULIET
Mount Juliet boasts a Jack Nicklaus signature course with some outstanding feature holes, including the third, a par-three from an elevated tee to a green guarded by a natural stream and lake, and the par-five 10th hole with a testing copse of trees. The course is a par 72, laid out over 7,300 yards across rolling fairways, water hazards, and contoured greens, all set in a beautiful estate in the heart of Co Kilkenny. Mount Juliet is also home to the Michelin-starred Lady Helen restaurant.
Where Thomastown, Co Kilkenny
Details (056) 777 3000, mountjuliet.ie
Price A two-night B&B offer for two people sharing includes a three-course dinner in Kendal's Restaurant on one night and one round of golf per person and costs from €264 pps.
9 LOUGH ERNE GOLF RESORT
Located on a private 600-acre peninsula between Lower Lough Erne and Castle Hume Lough, the links-like fairways, dramatic scenery and superb all-round playing conditions of the Lough Erne Championship Course - which will host the 2017 Irish Open - and the Castle Hume Golf Course at Lough Erne Resort are favoured by Rory McIlroy and regularly feature on all the 'best of' lists. Five-star Lough Erne Resort is super-luxurious, with excellent food from Noel McMeel in the Catalina restaurant. There's also a pool and Thai Spa.
Where Belleek Road, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, BT93 7ED, Northern Ireland
Details (0044) 28 6632 3230, lougherneresort.com
Price The overnight 'Stay & Play' Golf Break costs from €147 per person sharing, to include breakfast and a round of golf on the Faldo-designed championship course.
10 CASTLEKNOCK HOTEL & COUNTRY CLUB
The four-star Castleknock Hotel & Country Club is located in lush private grounds with its own golf course, just 15 minutes from Dublin city centre. Despite the proximity to the city, the setting is tranquil. There's an 18-hole golf course, a day spa, and a leisure centre, plus bars and restaurants, including the newly-launched Avenue.
Where Porterstown Road, Castleknock, Dublin 15
Details (01) 640 6300, castleknockhotel.com
Price One night B&B plus a round of golf costs from €119 per person sharing.
11 MOUNT WOLSELEY HOTEL
A previous winner of the accolade 'Leinster's Best Golf Resort', Mount Wolseley's magnificent 18-hole Championship Golf Course was designed by Christy O'Connor Jnr. From October 8-11, the resort will host the Volopa Irish Challenge, so it's an ideal opportunity for golfers who would rather watch than participate to visit.
Where Tullow, Co Carlow
Details (091) 80100, mountswolseley.ie
Price The hotel is offering an overnight stay in a deluxe room, with full Irish breakfast, four-course dinner in Frederick's Restaurant, and a ticket to the European Challenge Golf Tour for €125 pps. Packages at other times include a round of golf and cost from €99.50 pps.
12 ASHFORD CASTLE
Ashford's on-site golf course may only be a nine-hole, but some golfers consider that ample and, anyway, it gives one more time to enjoy the sumptuous luxury of the newly-refurbished hotel, voted the world's best in 2015. The 2,996 yards par-35 parkland course is suitable for golfers of all abilities. The course, the original deer park of the estate, was designed by the renowned Irish golf architect Eddie Hackett and imaginatively integrates a wide variety of natural features and hazards to create tough par-threes, exciting par-fours and a formidable par-five. Golf is complimentary for hotel residents. Ashford Castle is also surrounded by some of the finest links golf courses in the world, including Connemara, Carne, Enniscrone and Sligo, and are joined by Donegal, Rosapenna, Portsalon, Ballyliffin, Castlerock, Portstewart and Royal Portrush. In conjunction with North & West Coast Links, the hotel can help organise tee times for any of these courses and all other courses throughout the country, as well as arranging luxury transport from Ashford Castle.
Where Cong, Co Mayo
Details (094) 954 6003, ashfordcastle.com
Price One night dinner, B&B offers with complimentary golf from €365.
13 FAITHLEGG HOUSE HOTEL & GOLF RESORT
Set in picturesque woodlands, Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Resort was named 'Best Golf Resort in Munster' at the Golfers' Guide to Ireland Awards, 2014. The estate has beautiful grounds for walking in, and an indoor pool, but also encourages relaxation in the form of cocktails in the bar, curling up by the fire in the Aylward Lounge or enjoying dinner in the newly-refurbished Roseville Rooms restaurant.
Where Faithlegg, Co Waterford
Details (051) 382 000, faithlegg.com
Price The Golfer's Paradise Weekend includes an overnight stay, breakfast, attendance at the free golf clinic with resident pro Derry Kiely daily from 11am until noon, and a round of golf, and costs from €119 pps. Golf must be booked in advance to avoid disappointment.
14 THE HERITAGE
The Heritage five-star luxury hotel is located just five miles from Portarlington in the beautiful rolling countryside of Co Laois, with the Slieve Bloom Mountains as a backdrop. The 72-par championship golf course was co-designed by Seve Ballesteros and Jeff Howes and is an enjoyable experience for golfers of all standards. Five lakes and a stream meander through the course and bring water into play on 10 holes. There are 98 beautifully-shaped bunkers and 7,000 trees adorning the landscape, which is gently undulating but does not require any climbing. The variety of tees allows the course to be played from 5,747 to 7,319 yards and the well-drained limestone land ensures a magnificent playing surface all year round. There is an orthodox configuration of four par-fives, four par-threes and 10 par-fours for an overall par of 72. In keeping with the best design principles, the par-fives are all in different directions and while the short fourth and short 17th are both facing west, the tee shots are from different angles. The Heritage also boasts excellent finishing holes on both nines.
Where Killenard, Co Laois
Details (057) 864 5500, theheritage.com
Price Dinner and B&B costs from €109 pps, with additional charges for golf.
15 THE DUNLOE
The five-star Dunloe, located five miles outside of Killarney, overlooks the famous Gap of Dunloe, and is set on its own 64-acre estate leading to the ruins of the 12th-century castle and River Laune. It is close to the Dunloe Golf Club, popular with locals and visitors for the practice facilities and a pay-as-you-play boutique course. The complex includes; a nine-hole par-four golf course, a driving range featuring 20 covered bays and outdoor grass tees and pitching and chipping practice areas located adjacent to a café, market garden, golf and outdoor sports shop. The area offers a mixture of challenging parkland and natural links courses, including Beaufort, Killarney, Dooks and the Ring of Kerry, so guests can tee off against the backdrop of Killarney's Lakes, the Gap of Dunloe or even the Atlantic.
Where Beaufort, Killarney, Co Kerry
Details (064) 664 4111, thedunloe.com
Price B&B rates are from €90 pps, with golf charges extra.
16 FARNHAM ESTATE GOLF & SPA RESORT
The parkland course at Farnham Estate is spread over 500 acres of rolling countryside and dense woodland, and will test even the most experienced of golfers with two contrasting nines. The front nine, which explores the sloping meadows of the estate, is gentle yet challenging, while the back nine provides a more vigorous test, travelling through dense, rugged woodland and to finish back in rolling parkland.
Where Co Cavan
Details (049) 437 7700, farnhamestate.ie
Price A one night Golf Break including breakfast and unlimited use of the indoor and outdoor infinity pool, Water Mint Thermal Suite, relaxation rooms and gymnasium, plus golf and dinner in the Botanica Restaurant, costs from €124.50 pps.
17 K CLUB
A stay at the K Club is on every Irish golfer's wish list, with the possibility of playing on both the Palmer Ryder Cup Course and also The Smurfit Course, named after the boss.
Where Straffan, Co Kildare
Details (01) 601 7200, kclub.ie
Price The K Club's current offers include The Ultimate Ryder Cup Experience - a one-night stay with four-course dinner in the River Room restaurant and a full Irish breakfast to set you up for a strenuous day in the open air - from €287 pps. The package includes full access to the K Health & Fitness facilities, including tennis courts, swimming pool, gymnasium, steam room and sauna.
18 TULFARRIS HOTEL & GOLF RESORT
Standing by the shores of Blessington Lakes, Tulfarris' 18-hole championship course is set across three peninsulas, and was designed by renowned course architect Patrick J Merrigan, using ponds and wild grasses against sweeping panoramic views. The driving range is suitable for all weather conditions.
Where Blessington Lakes, Co Wicklow
Details (045) 867 600, tulfarrishotel.com
Price B&B offers with golf included start at €69 pps, and some packages include a steak dinner in the Elk Bar.
19 KELLY'S RESORT HOTEL & SPA
Kelly's is a great base for golfers and all guests can now avail of complimentary golf at Rosslare Golf Club or St Helen's Bay Golf Club, if they book a package of at least three nights' full board. In addition, there's a free golf clinic with Johnny Young, special additional green-fee rates at Rosslare Golf Club, St Helen's and Wexford, free golf balls and visor, special beginners' competitions with weekly prizes and a weekly singles competition and scramble with the opportunity to qualify for the Irish Open Pro-Am.
Where Strand Rd, Rosslare, Co Wexford
Details (053) 913 2114, kellys.ie
Price A five-night Golf Getaway costs from €649 per adult for half-board, and other golf packages are available.
20 GLENLO ABBEY
The five-star Glenlo Abbey, located close to Galway City has a lovely, recently upgraded, nine-hole golf parkland course on site, set against the backdrop of Lough Corrib. Originally designed by Jeff Howes, the redesign was by Christy O'Connor Jnr. Seven of the nine holes boast a water hazard, and a stunning signature par-three fourth hole that measures 200 yards to an island green, sits out on the Corrib. It's a perfect practice venue for golfers who may wish to use Glenlo Abbey as a base between the links courses in the West: Doonbeg, Lahinch, Carne and Enniscrone. Glenlo offers tuition facilities, an onsite golf academy, and 21-bay driving range.
Where Kentfield, Bushypark, Galway City
Details (091) 526 666, glenloabbey.ie
Price The Stay and Play Golfers' package includes B&B, two-course dinner in the Rustic Oak Cellar Bar, a round of golf and a digicard for 30 balls to use on the driving range and costs from €249 per room.
21 THE LODGE AT ASHFORD CASTLE
Guests at The Lodge at Ashford Castle can use the beautiful nine-hole, 2,996 yard par-35 parkland course on the Ashford Estate, designed by the renowned Irish golf architect Eddie Hackett, which is perfect for golfers of all abilities. The golfing package at The Lodge at Ashford Castle includes two nights accommodation with breakfast and a three-course dinner in the Quay Bar for two. It also includes a round of golf on the Ashford Estate and a round at the Ballinrobe course.
Where Cong, Co Mayo
Details (094) 954 5400, thelodgeac.com
Price The price is €429 for two people.
22 THE KILLARNEY PARK HOTEL
The Killarney Park does not have its own golf course, but the hotel is ideally located in the centre of town and within easy reach of some of the many courses for which Kerry and Killarney are famous. The area has both links and parkland courses, and the Irish Open was staged in Killarney in both 2010 and 2011. Ballybunion offers twin thrills in the form of the Cashen or the Old Golf Course, while the Killeen course is the show-stopper among the three courses at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, on the shores of Lough Lein. Tralee Golf Club is one of Ireland's finest links courses, while Waterville and Dooks are liable to distract players from their golf with the beauty of the setting. Facilities for golfers include a drying room, and the Golfers' Tonic massage in the spa.
Where Town Centre, Killarney, Co Kerry
Details (064) 663 5555, killarneyparkhotel.ie
Price Dinner B&B costs from €238 per room and golf charges are extra, but the concierge will be happy to assist with arrangements.
23 FOTA ISLAND RESORT
The five-star Fota Island Resort hosted the Irish Open for the third time this summer, having previously been the chosen venue for the 2001 and 2002 championships. The resort is home to three distinctively challenging championship golf courses set amongst beautiful parkland scenery and surrounded by tall oak trees. The courses challenge length and skill whilst subtly showcasing the beautiful scenery on display. Fota is located 9km from Cork City, and beside the Fota Wildlife Park.
Where Fota Island, Co Cork
Details (021) 467 3000, fotaisland.ie
Price Overnight B&B with a three-course meal costs from €246 per room per night.
24 DRUIDS GLEN
The Wicklow resort has two courses - the Glen and the Heath. With manicured tree-lined fairways, historical landmarks, spectacular water features and vibrant floral displays, Druids Glen, designed by Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock, is known as 'The Augusta of Europe' and has hosted the Irish Open on several occasions, as well as the bi-annual Seve Trophy. It's an enjoyable and challenging course with the mountains, sea and rolling countryside providing stunning vistas throughout, and the sea breeze calling for shot-making skills and imagination from the golfer. Druids' Heath was the venue for the 2006 Irish PGA Championship and has played host to many leading Tour players, including double US Open champion Retief Goosen, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter.
Where Woodstock House, Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow
Details (01) 287 3600,
Price A two-night B&B break in October, with dinner on one night and a round of golf on each course costs from €225 pps.
25 ADARE MANOR HOTEL & GOLF RESORT
Adare Manor's 18-hole championship course was designed by the legendary Robert Trent Senior and is one of the most beautifully-located courses in the country, on every Irish golfer's wish list. Adare has great restaurants too, including Wade Murphy's award-winning 1826, so gourmet golfers will be well catered for.
Where Adare Village, Co Limerick
Details (061) 605 200, adaremanor.com
Price There's a two-night 'stay and play' offer with accommodation in a Deluxe Manor Room for two people, with traditional full Irish breakfast each morning in the Oakroom Restaurant, one free round of golf per person and free buggy hire from €318 pps.
26 SLIEVE RUSSELL HOTEL GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
The golf course at Slieve Russell is ranked in the top five parkland courses in Ireland by Golf Weekly Magazine, 2015. Forming part of a magnificent 300-acre estate, including 50 acres of lakes, the highly-acclaimed 18-hole championship course is wrapped around the lakes and the drumlins of the Cavan landscape. The course presents a wonderful challenge and the tricky greens a searching examination of accurate approach play, adding to the enjoyment factor. Slieve Russell has hosted some major Irish PGA tournaments including The Irish PGA Championship in 1996 and a PGA Pro-Am, which has been held here since 1997 and has now become an annual event and boasts one of the highest prize funds in Europe.
Where Ballyconnell, Co Cavan
Details (049) 952 6444, slieverussell.ie
Price B&B in the luxury hotel plus a round of golf costs from €125 pps.
27 SLIEVE DONARD RESORT & SPA
Slieve Donard lies next door to the spectacular Royal County Down, a par-71 over 7,186 yards, one of Northern Ireland hero Rory McIlroy's favourite courses. The hotel overlooks Newcastle's long beach and is set against the backdrop of the Mourne Mountains. A former railway hotel, the 115-year-old building retains an air of grandeur, and facilities include six luxury suites and an ESPA spa spread across two floors. Book your tee-time at Royal County Down well ahead, as it gets booked up months in advance.
Where Downs Road, Newcastle, Co Down
Details (0044) 28 9047 1066,
Price Doubles are from £100 per night, B&B.
28 CULLODEN ESTATE & SPA
The Culloden, situated on 12 acres of gardens in the Holywood Hills, does not have its own golf course, but is ideally situated to take advantage of two magnificent and nearby courses. The par-69 course at Holywood stretches over 6,118 yards and is a favourite of Rory McIlroy, who says: "It's a really nice parkland course overlooking the Belfast lakes and the countryside." McIlroy's other favourite course up north is the Belvoir Park & Malone (6,685 yards, par-71 ). As McElroy says: "These are two of the great parkland courses in Northern Ireland. Both are really close to Belfast city centre, so they are ideally located. I'll go there and play a round in the morning with mates, then chill out and have a bit of lunch afterwards. Set in well-matured parkland, these two are definitely worth a visit." Originally built as a palace for the Bishops of Down, the luxury hotel at Culloden now has 105 rooms and suites, and an ESPA spa with a decent swimming pool.
Where Bangor Road, Holywood, Belfast
Details (0044) 28 9047 1066, hastingshotels.com
Price B&B rates from £65, course fees extra.
29 PORTMARNOCK HOTEL
Portmarnock regularly features on those 100 Best lists - it's one of the best links courses in the world, starting gently and becoming ever more testing as it progresses. It's located just 25 minutes from Dublin City centre, and the four-star hotel is popular with golfers from around the country and further afield.
Where Strand Rd, Portmarnock, Co Dublin
Details (01) 846 0611, portmarnockhotelandgolf.com
Price Various packages are available, but the room rate starts at €162 per night for a three-night stay for two including B&B, a round of golf, and dinner on one night.
30 Mount Falcon Estate
Situated on 100 acres and surrounded by mature forest, Mount Falcon is a four-star hotel and the golfing hub of the north west of Ireland. There are 12 golf courses (four links and eight parkland) within an hour's drive of the hotel. Three of these links courses, Carne/Belmullet, Enniscrone and County Sligo/Rosses Point are consistently voted within the top 20 championship links courses in the country. Tiger Woods, Mark O'Meara and Nick Faldo have been regular visitors to Mount Falcon over the years, using it as a base for golf and fly-fishing for salmon. The hotel provides a range of services to golfers including equipment storage and drying facilities, along with a nine-bay driving range perfect for a warm-up. There's a pool and spa and plenty of activities for non-golfers.
Where Foxford Rd, Ballina, Co Mayo
Details (096) 74492, mountfalcon.com
Price Two night packages with breakfast and dinner on one night from €195 pps, golf charges extra.