Top 5 Places to Visit in Ireland
The problem with asking Real Irish Golf to name the Top 5 places to visit in Ireland is that all answers are likely to include the words “golf” and ” links” in the answer; Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, Ballybunion Golf Links anyone.
OK, so let’s make the ridiculous assumption that you want to do something other than play the best links golf courses while in Ireland. Here are our Top 5 places to visit in Ireland – in no particular order, with a slight bias of course to places that are relatively near great links golf courses too!
Not a single destination per se – it’s a county – and just a beautiful place to spend some time, The Kingdom county of Kerry is a ‘must’ inclusion in our top 5 places to visit in Ireland. Catch a slower rhythm of life and enjoy a friendly people as you traverse this iconic county of wild ocean, endless sandy beaches, majestic mountains and beautiful lakes. Oh and also probably the most famous golf destination in Ireland with Tralee, Waterville and Ballybunion golf courses located there.
In our not-so-humble opinion, The Long Room in Trinity College is the most underrated attraction in Dublin and a definite inclusion from Dublin in our top 5 places to visit in Ireland. Firstly take in The Book of Kells, the four gospels wonderfully illustrated and written in Latin by Columban monks from c. 800. Then head upstairs to the The Long Room. 65 meters long and dating from the 16th century, simply walking through the Long Room with its mixed air of ancient books and dark paneled wood, will make you feel smarter and more learned. With your enhanced IQ, head next day or later that day to Royal Dublin or Portmarnock, both an easy drive.
Let’s head to the Northeast for our next inclusion in top 5 places to visit in Ireland. Like nothing you have or will ever see, this World Heritage site consisting of 40,000 granite columns was said to have been created by a volcanic eruption. We are more inclined to believe the legend that it was built by Fionn Mac Cumhaill, a giant in Irish Mythology, on his way to fight the Scottish Giant, Benandonner. The Giant’s Causeway is a breathtaking and awe inspiring piece of Ireland, and hey, how often do you get to walk in the footsteps of Giants? When you shrink back down to size, point the car west along the north Antrim coast and before long you will arrive at Royal Portrush with Portstewart Golf Links a little further along.
Now for perhaps a more obscure best place to visit in Ireland, the Hook Head is perhaps less well traveled than some of our other top 5 places to visit in Ireland, which makes it all the more enjoyable for those that do. The Hook Head boasts the oldest intact operational lighthouse in the world, numerous old Abbeys and Monasteries, beautiful coastline with delightful sandy beaches and coves. And if that’s not enough, the nearby Dunbrody House Hotel was voted the 2016 #1 Country House Hotel in the World by Luxury Travel Guide. Golf? Not as bountiful as Kerry or the north Antrim Coast, but nearby Rosslare boasts a lovely traditional in-and-out Links Golf Course and Mount Juliet in Kilkenny, which has hosted 2 WGC events, is less than an hour away.
Last but not least in our top 5 places to visit in Ireland, Strandhill in County Sligo. A beautiful Irish town along the Northwest Atlantic Coast, Strandhill has become a rustic surfers paradise, and although we weren’t around in the 50’s, we suspect it has a a California 50’s surf vibe, albiet a bit cooler. With beautiful stretching beaches, the mountain backdrops of Knocknarea and Ben Bulben, great food and lively pubs, Strandhill encompasses and delivers many of the qualities to make it the perfect Irish small town destination for a few days. Golf? easy; right in the town is one of our favorite Irish links hidden gems, so when the surf is done, pop up from the beach and hit the links. Tired after all that? Head to the famed local seaweed baths to soak away the aches. If that doesn’t work, or indeed if it does, head to the local Strand Bar for the evening.