What are best golf regions in Ireland & which one is right for you?
Broadly there are five key golf regions in Ireland that Real Irish Golf recommends for your Ireland Golf Vacation. The links golf is great in all of these regions, but there are some important differences you should have in mind when considering which region may be best for you and your Ireland golf vacation. We discuss our thoughts on each region below (in no particular order) and hopefully this will help you decide the best Irish golf region for you.
South West Ireland
This region put Irish golf on the map globally and is centered around County Kerry but also takes in courses in County Clare and also County Cork. The south west region put Irish golf on the global golf map and is the most popular for Ireland golf vacations. It takes in legendary Irish golf courses such as Ballybunion Golf Club, The Old Head Golf Club, Waterville Golf Links and Tralee Golf Club.
If you are certain that you will only ever take one Ireland golf vacation (but we sincerely doubt that!), then you should consider our Southern Belles Tour centered in the south west of Ireland. The combination of world class links golf courses, stunning Irish scenery, and a very friendly people all combine for a great Irish golf vacation and overall Irish experience.
The capital has some great links golf courses within easy reach of the city center – Portmarnock Golf Club and Royal Dublin – but also some great tracks within east reach < 40 miles – from the city centre. Courses such as Baltray, The K Club, Druids Glen and perennial favorite, The European Club, can all be accessed easily form a Dublin city base. Because these courses are in the greater Dublin area, green fees may be a little higher.
So our Dublin and East Tour is perfect for your Ireland golf vacation if you are in Dublin for a business trip and may be constrained by time. It is also perfect for those that want to have a great city experience while away from the links.
Famous for not so good reasons in the past, Northern Ireland is now thankfully a very peaceful part of Ireland. Northern Ireland, which is primarily under British jurisdiction, boasts some of the world’s top ranked golf courses, with Royal County Down ranked by Golf Digest as the number one golf course in the world. It is also home to the only golf course on the island of Ireland – Royal Portrush – to have hosted the Open Championship. Indeed The Open Championship will return to Royal Portrush 2019. The North also has a number of great so called “hidden gems” such as Ardglass and Kirkistown Castle. Recently, it is also famed for the number of Major winners it has produced, most notably of course, Rory McIlroy, and also Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell.
So if you want to check off an Open Championship course on your Ireland golf vacation, play the world’s number one ranked golf course, and walk in the footsteps of golf’s Major winners, our Northern Lights Tour is recommended for you.
West of Ireland
The West is one Real Irish Golf’s favourite places to play in Ireland. An easy three hour drive from Dublin airport will have you in the heart of some great links golf centered primarily in Counties Sligo and Mayo. Along the famous Wild Atlantic Way, wilder, more rugged, and yes with a little more moisture in the air than elsewhere in Ireland, this is Irish golf in its unreconstructed form. Speaking of remote, Carne Golf Club is on the very tip of the western seaboard, and it is no surprise that Tom Coyne, in his wonderful book, “A Course called Ireland”, ranked it as his favorite golf course in Ireland.
So for those of you who want to get away from it all on your Ireland golf vacation, and maybe hunt down some old Irish ancestry (as many will have emigrated from this region), all the while enjoying links golf as it was meant to be, we commend our Go West Tour.
Some less astute Tour Operators might not rank this a distinct Irish golf region, but take it from us, the locals, it merits its own region. We feel Donegal is still somewhat a golf secret and are worried that by broadcasting too much about it, we may make it no longer so! Put simply, Donegal has the best value – quality and price combination – golf in Ireland with possibly more genuine links courses than in any other county in Ireland. A flight into Dublin, followed by approx. a four hour drive and you will be in the heart of it. The highlights? Many such as Ballyliffin (the best 36 holes of links golf in one location in Ireland), Rosapenna, Portsalon, Murvagh and Narin & Portnoo. You will come back from your Ireland golf vacation wondering how is this region not more famed for its links golf courses.
So if you’ve already been to the South West, and have also played some of the other most famous links golf courses in Ireland, and are ready to veer off the beaten track, you should consider our Rory Recommends Tour in Donegal for your next Ireland Golf vacation.
Still not sure? Contact Us and we’ll have you advise you on the best Irish Golf region for you and the best time to visit Ireland for golf.