5 Aside: My Favorite Days in Ireland

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I always stress that the best golf trips are full of both great golf AND great experiences. You get the best of both during my favorites days in Ireland:

bushmills-inn

Experience the best of the Causeway Coast. Along Northern Ireland’s north coast, you can check just about all of the boxes for a perfect day.

  • Start with a cruise along the waters the Causeway Coast, where you can catch breakfast before returning to shore to prepare it while you enjoy the Antrim coastal sunrise.
  • With food in your stomach, head to Royal Portush for a round on the famous Dunluce Course, arguably the most beautiful Open Championship host of them all.
  • This afternoon, journey down the coast to enjoy an afternoon 9 at Castlerock’s Bann Course, the club’s dramatic relief course that is as exciting a nine as you will find in County Antrim.
  • Finally, head to Bushmills for whiskey tasting before dinner at the historic Bushmills Inn.
Cruit Island

Take the road less traveled in County Donegal. I’m a sucker for unspoiled beauty and so if I have one day to spend in Ireland, it just might be in the far reaches of the country’s northwest corner:

  • Start in the harbour town of Donegal and drive west to the Cliffs of Slieve League, where you can view Ireland’s tallest coastal cliffs.
  • Then head north to play Nairn & Portnoo, a course that Gil Hanse recently put his stamp on and one that is overlooked primarily because of its remote location and unassuming nature.
  • Perhaps the highlight of the day is a bit further north a Cruit Island, a 9-holer that may be the most dramatic and beautiful course in Ireland.
  • Finally, a return to Donegal features a pint in Donegal’s historic main square, the “Diamond.”
kilmainham gaol

Discover Dublin’s roots. With so much to do and see in Dublin it can be hard to narrow down an itinerary, so just go chalk.

  • Drive north of the city for a morning round at historic Portmarnock, the crown jewel of Ireland’s capital city and a wonderful strategic test of golf.
  • Next, return to Dublin for lunch at Leo Burdocks, a historic Irish institution in Christchurch that has been serving fish and chips for over 100 years.
  • This afternoon, visit to Kilmainham Gaol, a client favorite sightseeing attraction and an experience that elicits curiosity about Ireland’s turbulent past.
  • Next, you can’t miss a tour of the Guinness Storehouse and a pint at the scenic Gravity Bar.
  • Finally, enjoy dinner and pints at the historic Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest pub!
killarney-national-park

Circle the Ring of Kerry. With coastal terrain framed by gorgeous mountainous backdrops, the southwest of Ireland is all about stunning beauty.

  • Get an early start and head southwest from Killarney along the famous Ring of Kerry route. Stop for photo ops alongside Killarney National Park, atop Moll’s Gap and at the Staigue Stone Fort.
  • Eventually, you’ll make it for a tee time at Waterville Golf Links, one of Ireland’s most remote and beautiful courses and a championship-quality links.
  • After golf, head to Portmagee to cruise to the Skellig Islands, a Unesco World Heritage site that juts dramatically out of the Atlantic and is well-known for hosting the filming of Star Wars.
  • Finally, journey to the market town of Cahersiveen for some fresh-off-the-boat seafood from QC’s.
Cliffs of Moher

Experience the mighty County Clare. Some would argue a day in and around Lahinch should top this list and we won’t disagree too fervently.

  • Get started with a round at Lahinch’s Old Course, the 2019 Irish Open host that weaves amidst the towering dunes of Ireland’s rugged West coast.
  • Then head north to the Cliffs of Moher, which rise over 700 feet above the Atlantic and offer an unmatched perspective of Ireland’s dramatic rural landscape.
  • Next, unwind at Doolin Pitch and Putt, a magical, cliff-top par 3 course overlooking the Cliffs of Moher.
  • Finally, refuel with pints, pub grub and traditional Irish music at Doolin’s famous watering hole, Gus O’Connor’s.
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