Tee-off in Ireland with top-class golf courses

Royal County Down Golf Course in the Murlough Nature Reserve

For avid golfers, Ireland is a links paradise. As the home of 1/3 of the worlds links courses, sporting fans are sure to hit a hole in one with a visit to some of Ireland’s most sought after golf courses. Ireland has been a part of golfing history, most notably from being the home for the 148th Open at Royal Portrush and being the upcoming host for the 2027 Ryder Cup at Adare Manor.

Tourism Ireland is on hand to share the top five golf courses to add to the bucket list;

• Royal County Down, Championship Course: Under the shadow of the Mountains of Mourne and in one of the world’s most naturally beautiful setting of the Murlough Nature Reserve, this course is made up of the Championship and Annesley links. Voted the best golf course in the world, Royal County Down offers golfers of all standards the opportunity of playing a truly great course with dramatic panorama views of the surrounding mountains and coastline.

Alternative activity: Nestling at the foot of the Mountains of Mourne, the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa stands in six acres of immaculate private grounds, leading to the mighty links of Royal County Down. With 181 comfortable and stylish bedrooms, magnificent views of the Irish Sea and the mountains, plus a luxury spa with sauna, steam room, aerobics studio and a well-equipped gym.

• Adare Manor: Masterfully designed, magnificently maintained, and perfectly set within the glorious estate of one of Europe’s most spectacular manor house hotels, The Golf Course at Adare Manor is ready to take its place among the best championship courses in the world. In 2027, the course will be proudly hosting the Ryder Cup which is sure to be an unforgettable experience for the world’s golf enthusiasts.

Alternative activity: Adare Manor is the ideal base from which to explore some of Ireland’s most notable visitor attractions and the world’s most beautiful sights such as the stunning Dingle Penninsula (a two hour drive), the 15th century Bunratty Castle & Folk Park (a 20 minute drive) and the unmissable Killarney town (an hour and fifteen minutes’ drive).

• Lahinch Golf Course, County Clare: Part of Irish golf for 125 years, Lahinch's Course has undergone many changes since it began and now stands as an enjoyable and challenging test of skill and expertise. One of the most memorable years in the long history of the club was the hosting of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and Home Internationals in 2019. A love of Lahinch has drawn people from all parts of the world and from all walks of life to ply their skills on the great golf links course with its unique design and breath-taking scenery.

Alternative activity: This course is just minutes away from the Cliffs of Moher. One of Ireland’s favourite visitor experiences, the Cliffs of Moher tower over the rugged west Clare coast.  Walk the safe, paved pathways and view the famous Cliffs on Europe’s western frontier and enjoy the spectacular vistas over the Atlantic Ocean and the Aran Islands.

• Royal Portrush, County Antrim: It may have started life with just 9 holes in 1888, but it was only a matter of a year before Royal Portrush was an 18-hole charmer. Among others, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson have stalked the greens on Antrim's enchanted coast. The course had a major upgrade before The 148th Open, the world’s oldest Major, was held there in 2019 and now it is an international golf destination. The club has a long and distinguished tradition set in spectacular rolling sand dunes with breath taking coastal views.

• Waterville Golf Links, County Kerry: With a location on the world-famous Ring of Kerry, Waterville Golf Links has it all. Right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the landscape at Waterville changes colour with the shifts in weather, making it look just as dramatic in clear sunshine as in cloud.