Golf “Off the Beaten Track” Ireland Series 4 - County Clare and West Coast
Highlights County Clare and West Coast
County Clare has two very special links golf courses Lahinch and Doonbeg just 18 miles apart. Shannon is the major West Coast International Airport. County Clare is usually a base for a two-location South West Golf Tour or two-location West Coast Golf Tour. Lahinch is a world ranked course and ranks in the top three in Ireland. Doonbeg is an excellent links course at a world class 5* golf resort, Trump International Golf Links. Near Shannon airport is another luxury 5* golf resort Dromoland Castle. This was the ancestral home of the O’Briens of Dromoland whose lineage goes back 1,000 years to Brian Boru, the only High King of Ireland.
Places to Visit
The Cliffs of Moher are a breathtaking natural wonder on the Wild Atlantic Way. The limestone cliffs rise vertically from the sea on a five mile stretch of coast. They are about 700 feet high. You can explore the clifftop paths and there is an interactive presentation at the visitor centre. Performers often use the centre car park in the high season.
The Burren is a strange area with irregular slabs of limestone stretching across the countryside like a lunar landscape. The limestone plateau has an incredible variety of plant life and wildlife. There are many archaeological remains, dolmens, wedge tombs, ring forts, round towers, high crosses, holy wells and monasteries. The Burren has a long history of traditional Irish music. It is particularly known for the "West Clare Style" of concertina playing and the music festival in Doolin and Corofin.
Festivals are held throughout the year in Clare. Two examples are:-
The Doolin Folk Festival takes place each June in the Hotel Doolin Marquee. Human contact is at the heart of traditional music in Ireland. Doolin allows both musicians and audiences to reconnect, to enjoy the unbroken but changing nature of rich traditional Irish music.
Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival - 1st to 30th September is Ireland’s only traditional matchmaking festival. Dancing takes place in venues all over the village with matchmaker Willie Daly on hand to bring hopeful singles together.
Up the West Coast from County Clare – Golf and some places of interest.
Golf in Clare is often combined with playing County Sligo, Carne, Enniscrone and Donegal. The hidden gem for the area is Strandhill. On route you could stop at:
Galway – a lively city spectacularly situated on the shore of Galway Bay. In summer three big festivals. Galway races are held the last week in August, the Arts festival in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of July and the Oyster Festival in the last week of September.
Whiskey – After a severe decline, Irish Whisky has become a growth industry. You can visit the Connaught Distillery at Ballina in County Mayo. Close to Enniscrone G.C. and on route to Carne G.C. There are three tour options and advanced bookings are advised. More data on our Irish Whisky blog or their website.
Knock - In 1879 two women claimed to have seen Mary, Joseph and St John appear at the south end of the local church. This apparition was verified by 13 more people and finally upheld by Church investigations. The Shrine of our Lady of Knock has become a place of pilgrimage. There is a basilica that seats 7,000 people. In 1979 Pope John Paul II visited the shrine and preached to vast crowds.
Croagh Patrick is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland. Pilgrimage to this mountain dates back 5000 years. Today its Patrician Pilgrimage is in honour of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. The mountain is 5 miles from Westport and so is not directly on our route. It could however be important to some visitors.
W.B.Yeats the famous poet is remembered in the Sligo area with a Yates Memorial building containing a library, art gallery and the headquarters of the Yeats International Summer School.
Archeology abounds in County Sligo. Carrowmore is the largest group of megalithic tombs in the British Isles. There are sixty monuments including stone circles, passage tombs, dolmens and other ruins. Most are communal tombs dating from 4800 B.C. A small interpretive center offers exhibits and tours.
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