Golf tours Ireland: planning the perfect golf tour in Ireland
This article is essentially directed at International Golfers considering a golf tour in Ireland. Experience indicates that there is primarily a keen interest in playing the best true links golf courses. Furthermore, each group of golfers will benefit from having any proposed or selected tour tailored to meet the requirements of their group. They will profit from expert advice on golf courses, accommodation, and transport. Also eating out, entertainment and planning for any non-golfers travelling with the group.
The leading true links golf courses are located on parts of the north, west and east coasts. A description of the golfing hotspots follows with links to sample tours that can be developed to suit particular groups.
Golfing Hotspots in Ireland
South West of Ireland (County Kerry and County Clare)
This area is served by Shannon International airport. A seven day tour can be played from two base hotels. Six leading courses can be played, some feature in the world rankings. This area is particularly known for the beautiful countryside. There are no major cities but Killarney town is a strong and popular base in County Kerry. It has been attracting tourists for centuries and is consequently well developed to cater for tourists. Popular beauty spots are “The Ring of Kerry”, Killarney National park which includes the town, lakes and mountains and parts of the Dingle peninsula. Adare Manor a 5* golf resort is currently due to host the 2026 Ryder Cup.
The province is served by Belfast International and Belfast City Airports. A seven day tour can be played from two base hotels, one on the north coast and one on the south coast. Two of Ireland’s top courses, both typically in the world top ten, lead this hotspot. The main golfing area is on the north coast, known as ‘The Causeway Coast”. This refers to the ‘Giants Causeway’ which is a world heritage site. Six leading courses can be played sometimes borrowing Ballyliffen Glashedy from nearby County Donegal. It is only a short ferry ride and a short drive from the Causeway coast base. Royal Portrush is the only Irish course to host the British Open.
The City is served by Ireland’s main International Airport. Dublin is a vibrant city with great accommodation and restaurants. It is full of entertainment, history and culture and is the only major city that is a golfing hotspot. There are two links golf courses just three miles from the city centre and three more leading courses within easy driving distance.
As the city is central on the east coast, this leads to popular tours such as ‘ South West Irelandand Dublin’ and ‘Dublin and Northern Ireland’. You could also have ‘Dublin and the North West’ and ‘Dublin and the West’. Another attraction of these tours is that they can bring in leading courses that are outside of hotspots. Going north from Dublin you can play at County Louth and going South and West you can play ‘The European’ and ‘Old Head’.
North West of Ireland
This area only has a local airport and depends upon Belfast, Dublin or Shannon for International flights. The large county of Donegal represents the majority of the North West. It has eleven true links golf courses, nine with 18 holes, 1 with 12 holes and 1 with 9 holes. This is more than any other Irish county. Rosapenna is Golf Resort with two excellent 18 hole courses and a 9 hole practice course. It has another 18 hole course being built, due to open at the end of 2020. Three new excellent Donegal courses have been built in the last 30 years and others have been modernised. The area is very rural and all of the courses are on ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’. It is a golfing hotspot ‘off the beaten track’.
West of Ireland
This area only has a local airport and depends upon Dublin or Shannon for International flights. The golfing hotspot is mainly the coast of County Sligo and County Mayo. Here you can find golfing extremes some courses designed or developed by famous architects Eddy Hackett, Harry Colt and Donald Steel. Then you have a simple course of 9 holes, the designer unknown. It dates from 1896 and you still pay via an ‘Honesty Box’.