Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort
The Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort is a four star luxury hotel in an 800 acre estate on the edge of the Atlantic ocean, where the bays of Mulroy and Sheephaven meet on the coast of Donegal. The hotel has a Health and Wellbeing Centre, Tennis Courts, Billiards & Card Rooms, Putting Green, Driving Range as well as three 18-hole championship links golf courses, St Patrick’s Links, Sandy Hills Links and Old Tom Morris Links plus a 9-hole golf academy course making it the perfect base for a quiet golf getaway. You are surrounded by golf, beaches and hills, the views are simply stunning. It is in the seaside town of Downings which has a few friendly pubs and restaurants specialising in seafood. Each guest room features luxurious furnishings with spectacular views out over the golf course or bay. The hotel also boasts impressive leisure amenities, including a whirlpool, indoor swimming pool, steam room and sauna, plus a selection of body and massage treatments. The on-site restaurant and bar offer an inviting space for guests to relax. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the Vardon Restaurant serve up striking views over the bay especially at sunset, with the menu specialising in fresh local seafood.
Bay View Junior Suites feature sumptuous king size beds or two five foot doubles. These elegant spaces combine classic furnishings with a contemporary twist, all complete with a private balcony and unmatched views of the scenic landscape. The rooms each have a spacious en suite bathroom with anti-mist mirrors, a roll top bath and power shower, plus a range of luxury spa toiletries. The room also includes a comfortable seating area with bath robes and slippers. You can expect to find facilities including a telephone, hairdryer, refrigerator, controlled heating, electronic safe, a Nespresso coffee maker, LCD TV, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Deluxe Rooms benefit from pleasant views of Downings beach. These elegant rooms located on the first floor are equipped with a five foot double bed and a single bed. The room’s facilities and amenities include an en suite bathroom with luxury toiletries, a telephone, tea and coffee making facilities, a refrigerator, TV, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, trouser press, Wi-Fi, and an electric safe for personal belongings.
Classic Rooms - These comfortable en suite rooms feature cosy double beds, with some including the option of an additional single bed. Family rooms are also available in this style. The rooms feature en suite bathrooms with luxury toiletries provided, a refrigerator for refreshments, a telephone, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, TV, iron and ironing board, plus complimentary Wi-Fi.
Rosapenna Links Golf courses
St Patricks Links
The Rosapenna Golf Resort acquired the St Patrick’s Links in late 2012. Discussions followed with golf architect Tom Doak who finalised his lay-out in March 2013. Construction began in April 2018, with all of the greens completed in 2019 to ensure that they are matured and at their best from opening day. St Patrick's Links is sited in a dune system south of the existing two courses at Rosapenna. The land that originally had 36 golf holes has been used to create eighteen unforgettable holes on the same land. It is considered that St Patricks will be a future World Top 100 course. It will be interesting to see the 2022 rankings generally.
The routing takes golfers on a journey through huge dunes, to high above Sheephaven Bay, along the coast, then back over some more gentle dunes. With plenty of width to exploit and an varied mix of bunkers, the course is quite unique. The Links is generally wide off the tee but strategically there is always a line of approach best suited to a side of the fairway from which to approach greens. The green complexes are a stunning success of shaping and contouring with borrows, humps, slopes and mounds. The front nine starts through big dunes and works its way up to the dramatic tee at the fourth. Here an elevated tee provides a view of Sheephaven Bay. This classic two-shotter, whose heaving fairway twists between sandy waste areas begins one of the strongest stretches on St Patrick’s. Following a short hole the fifth and sixth are excellent holes effecting a par three, four , five series. The seventh tee shot is from an elevated tee followed by a short-iron approach to a dell green that can be blind except from the right. The eighth has a view of the opening of the bay from the tee. It plays over the seventh green to an angled fairway and then up to a tricky green. The front nine ends with a glorious green shielded by a large bowl on the front right. The back nine starts off with three tough holes away from the sea with undulations of the fairways that are abundant. The long par four sixteenth is downhill with a wide fairway and needing two good long shots to reach the green. The seventeenth is a great par three, you drive to a deep green shaped with flair, located between two low dunes with a deep bowl in front of it. The eighteenth is a short par four tempting you to go for the green and perhaps a birdie making a dramatic finish.
Sandy Hills Links (7255 yards, par 72)
The Sandy Hills Links at Rosapenna opened for play in June 2003 and has matured into one of Ireland’s finest modern championship links courses. Where Old Tom went for a course alongside the dunes, Pat Ruddy has gone straight through them from start to finish and created an awesome course. Sandy Hills is in many ways the ideal of a modern links. Intended for the serious golfer, its narrow fairways appear constricting from the tee, but the landing areas fashioned from the dunes are deceptively wide. There is a multiplicity of tees with a length to suit all strengths. Above all, the appeal of Sandy Hills lies in its beautifully balanced routing through the high dunes cloaked in marram grass. Many of the holes feature elevated tees and greens, with drives into natural bowls on the dune floor. Most holes run north and south along the dune ridges, parallel to the front nine of the Old Tom Morris Links below, and above Tramore, the large beach alongside Sheephaven Bay. There are no average holes on the new layout, but the best come at the stretch of holes 6-13, which romp across the interior dunes. The sixth is at the far southern end of the course, with the drive over a crest that reveals a charming view of the beach and bay with Muckish Mountain straight ahead. The seventh is a downhill par three with slice of green glancing from the dunes. The eighth leads inland, plummeting downhill and then climbing towards the backdrop of Carrigart and the Lough Salt Mountains in the distance. The tenth hole heads back towards the sea through a valley in the dunes, with the elevated green framed by the peak of Muckish. The twelfth maintains the same direction up through the dunes, and the thirteenth now on the higher ground is a continuous run of smoother fairway that turns right towards Murloy Bay. It is stunning modern links that winds its way through ancient dunes created by the winds coming off the Atlantic Ocean. There is not one weak or average hole on the course.
Old Tom Morris Links (6857 yards, par 71)
In 1891 Old Tom Morris was quick to see the golfing potential of the fine stretch of coast line at Sheephaven Bay. He staked out the first Rosapenna Links before going home. It included wide rolling fairways amongst the undulating terrain and delightful greens. Later two other great golfing champions Harry Vardon and James Braid added length and more detailed bunkering. Further changes were made by the great Harry Colt of Sunningdale in 1911. In September 2009 the new Strand Nine opened at Rosapenna to replace the original back nine which played across the main road on a number of holes. These new links holes which are now played as the front nine are routed through the low lying dunes to the east of the Sandy Hills Links and are fashioned much like the original Old Tom Morris Valley nine that runs along the beautiful Tramore beach overlooking Sheephaven Bay, which have now become the back nine. Laid out by Pat Ruddy of the European Club these new links holes have striking views across Mulroy Bay. They have settled into the Old Tom Morris Links layout to provide a seamless connection between each nine. The original back nine of the Old Links known as the "Coastguard Holes" are now played as a separate nine hole course beginning and finishing at the Golf Academy. The Strand and Valley nines which now make up the Old Tom Morris Links are a challenging combination of traditional and modern links holes which bridge a century of golf design.
Glenveagh National Park
The Park lies in the Derryveagh Mountains in County Donegal. It is a remote and hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains and pristine lakes. You can take a guided tour of the castle and walk in the gardens. Glenveagh also boasts the largest herd of red deer in Ireland. It has also re-introduced the Golden Eagle to Irish Shores. Glenveagh Castle is a 19th century castellated mansion and was built between 1869 and 1873. The wilderness setting of the Castle placed within the exposed granite mountains of central Donegal creates an unforgettable impression. It was conceived as a ‘Victorian Camelot and romantic retreat’ where an idyllic lifestyle was pursued by lovers of nature and art.
The Castle Gardens are regarded as one of Ireland’s outstanding horticultural masterpieces and grow many rare plants unique to Irish Gardens. The two major elements of the Garden, the Pleasure Gardens and the Walled Garden were constructed in the late 1880’s. Some of the planting in the Pleasure Grounds such as the purple maples and the Scots pine trees were planted at this time. The last private owner began to develop the gardens in the late 1940’s helped by two friends both well-known garden design consultants. The design and layout of the garden was developed and refined to include the Gothic Orangery, the Italian Terrace, the Tuscan Garden, an ornamental Jardin Potager and the development of the plant collection. Glenveagh is well known today for its rich collection of trees and shrubs specialising in southern hemisphere species and a diverse Rhododendron collection. Displays of Rhododendrons are at their best from late March to the end of May. A large collection of old narcissi varieties from Donegal gardens fills the walled garden in March and April. Displays of colour in the Walled Garden are at their best through the summer months. Fine specimens of the white flowered Eucryphia adorn the gardens in late summer. Dramatic autumn colour follows in October.
Sliabh League is situated on the southwest coast of Donegal. It is one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe rising almost 2000 feet from the Atlantic, and is twice as high as the Cliffs of Moher. There are terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay as you walk towards the high point of the cliffs.
Ards Forest Park is the most northerly forested park in Ireland, located on Sheephaven Bay and one of the few in Ireland situated by the seaside. It contains a large diversity of plant and wildlife forms, sandy beaches, rivers, viewing points. The Park has many features of historical and archaeological interest. The remains of four ring forts are to be seen as well as a number of megalithic tombs.