Golf - “Off The Beaten Track” Ireland Series 2: The Wilds of Donegal
This tour in Donegal covers part of the Northern Headlands of the ‘Wild Atlantic Ways’. The area is ruggedly beautiful and remote. It contains high sea cliffs and millions of seabirds gathering in great estuaries. We have selected six excellent links golf courses for the tour.
This sparsely populated region has a strong sense of community along Ireland’s wildest shores. Irish is the mother tongue and traditional culture thrives. It is said that along this coast “the sea air revives, minds and horizons expand, stories are told, adventures are shared, and spirits lift.
A Typical Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive at Belfast or Dublin airport, met by AGS Representative, collect auto or meet your private driver/guide, proceed to the Lake House Country Hotel at Portnoo.
The Lake House Hotel offers traditional Irish charm with open peat fires and candle-lit suppers. The hotel provides impeccable service and hospitality blending old-world charm and elegance with contemporary luxuries, superb facilities and magnificent views. There are fourteen well-appointed rooms in the main house, with considerable flexibility of accommodation. The lounge has panoramic views over Lake Clooney and Narin and Portnoo Golf Club.
Day 2 – Play Narin and Portnoo – It is an engaging course recently redeveloped to a par 73 layout with a range of teeing areas. Many different shots are needed here: draws around sharp dog-legs; crisp irons to par threes over cavernous terrain; accurate tee shots down narrow fairways, low shots into Atlantic breezes; high shots downwind into raised and firm greens and chip and run shots over undulations. 5269 yards, Par73.
Day 3 – Play Cruit Island, a truly natural links where every shot must be methodically thought out. The sound of the sea is ever present and the panoramic views are breathtaking. You overlook the rugged Atlantic Ocean from almost every hole. The signature hole is a spectacular par 3 played along the cliff edge. Your journey from the first tee to the last green will be exhilarating and memorable. 2 x 9 holes 5141 yards, Par 68.
Day 4 – Play Dunfanaghy on route to the Downings Bay Hotel. The course is not long but the wind offers both fun and stimulating challenges. There are many superb holes some examples are: the ninth just 120 yards, but you drive across a sandy cove to a green protected on the right by the beach which is out of bounds. The tee-shot to the tenth hole is also played across the beach which is again out of bounds. The par three 17th tee is elevated close to the shoreline. The green is 198 yards away with the beach tight to the right and behind it and the tee-shot is virtually all carry over dune grass. 5796 yards, Par 68.
The family run Downings Bay Hotel is located on scenic Sheephaven Bay in the village of Downings with two lovely beaches nearby. There are 40 luxurious ensuite bedrooms and guests have complimentary use of the excellent Leisure Centre. Fine dining is available at the Haven Restaurant where all produce is locally sourced and cooked to order by the head chef to guarantee ultimate freshness.
Day 5 – Play Rosapenna Old Tom Morris at Downings, Sheephaven Bay. The Old Tom Morris course was significantly updated in 2009. It is now a blend of old-fashioned and contemporary design spanning 100 years of golf architecture. Nine original holes have been retained and combined with nine new holes to provide an updated golfing challenge. 6951 yards, Par 71.
Day 6 – Play Northwest, located near Buncrana on the shores of Loch Swilly. It is often referred to as the 'St Andrews of Ireland' comparing the links with the famous Scottish ‘Home of Golf’. It requires accurate driving and many greens have tricky borrows. The feature hole ‘Kinnegar’ is a short par 4 dogleg that tempts golfers to cut the corner risking a lateral water hazard from dogleg to green. 6340 yards, Par 70.
Day 7- Play Portsalon - Its dramatic setting on the northern shores of Lough Swilly with the backdrop of the Knockalla Mountains creates a stage-like effect. This leads to it often being referred to as "the links of heaven”. The greens are well protected by bunkers, streams and natural sand dunes all come into play. Straight driving is required with some fairways very narrow. The greens are quick and true and it is open to all the elements. 6172 yards, Par 72.
Day 8 – Depart for Airport