Here is a roundup of the some of the best golf staycations in Ireland …
Golf has been trending over the last two weeks. Hot on the heels of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Mount Juliet, the PGA Open Championship is underway at Royal St George’s, Sandwich, Kent. Ireland, of course, is home to an abundance of natural coastal championship links and beautiful inland courses, designed by former champions including Arnold Palmer, Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros. Here is a roundup of the some of the best golf staycations in Ireland …
Carton House, Maynooth, Co Kildare
The newly-reimagined Carton House is home to two 18-hole championship courses. Guests can play the O’Meara parkland golf course, which winds through ancient woodland and traces the river’s edge, or experience the challenging links-style course designed by Colin Montgomerie, host to the Irish Open three times. After working up an appetite on the course, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to dining afterwards. Choose from the relaxed dining of Kathleen’s Kitchen; the al fresco Courtyard Bar, serving light more-ish bites alongside an impressive wine and cocktail list, or The Carriage House gastropub set in the original stables, and The Morrison Room, the resort’s fine dining restaurant. Any evening would not be complete without a nightcap in the atmospheric Whiskey Library. “The Golf Experience at Carton House” includes an overnight stay and breakfast, with a round of golf on the O’Meara parkland golf course plus complimentary access to Carton House Spa & Wellness facilities (there’s an impressive indoor heated swimming pool and gymnasium suite). This experience starts from €555 in The Garden Wing and €780 in The House. For those who want to visit Carton House for a day of golf, green fees on the Montgomerie or O’Meara courses are €70; www.cartonhouse.com.
Cahernane House Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry
Located on the edge of Killarney National Park, Cahernane House Hotel has joined with Killarney Golf and Fishing Club to offer guests a gorgeous golf and stay experience. The Killarney Golf Club features two 18-hole golf courses, Killeen and Mahony’s Point, and a nine-hole course called Lackabane. The “Play Stay and Fine Dine” package (from €349 per person sharing) includes a two-night stay in one of the deluxe bedrooms at Cahernane, with two rounds of golf at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club. One round of golf is on the famous Killeen course, which hosted the Irish Open on four occasions, and offers incredible lake vistas, while the second round is on Mahony’s Point, which is overlooked by the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland. The package also includes a gourmet three-course meal in the 2 AA Rosette Herbert restaurant; www.cahernane.com.
Fota Island Resort, Co Cork
Fota Island Resort combines three championship golf courses and golf academy, a five-star hotel and spa as well as residential lodges. Playable, fair, with strong holes all the way through, some of the signature holes on the three courses are the 18th at the Deerpark (Padraig Harrington’s favourite), and the opening holes at Belvelly, with their lakes and trees, and the 8th at Barryscourt which hits over an old quarry to an interestingly angled green. The “Luxury Golf Getaway” package at Fota Island Resort is an overnight stay for two with breakfast, a three-course meal, a round of golf for two and a two-course lunch in the Clubhouse overlooking the famous Deerpark 18th green from €549 per room; www.fotaisland.ie.
Mount Juliet Estate, Co Kilkenny
To play golf at Mount Juliet is to experience one of the world’s finest parkland courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, set across 180 acres of rolling countryside. From hosting a Tiger Woods-winning championship in 2002, recently being voted Ireland’s “Best Parkland Golf Course” by the Golfer’s Guide to Ireland, to hosting the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the Jack Nicklaus Singles, this is Mount Juliet Estate’s 30th anniversary year of golf. To celebrate there are two overnight golf offers. “The Birdie” package includes a warm-up session on the driving range, followed by a round of golf and finished with a two-course meal in Jack’s Bar. This is from €400 per room in Hunter’s Yard per night, based on two people sharing. “The Eagle” is from €560 per room for two people for one night and includes overnight and breakfast in Hunters Yard, a golf lesson with one of the PGA professionals at the Mount Juliet Golf Academy. Also included is a two-ball on the Jack Nicklaus championship golf course with a two-course dinner in Jack’s Bar; www.mountjuliet.ie.
Ballyliffin TownHouse Boutique Hotel, Inishowen, Co Donegal
The 17 room award-winning four-star Ballyliffin TownHouse Boutique Hotel is an ideal location for all the family to enjoy. There’s the option of seeing wild bears at Wild Ireland, meet friendly alpacas at Wild Alpaca Way, have a splash at Inish Adventures, go dolphin spotting at Pollan Bay, take a tour at Doagh Famine Village, go kayaking at Fort Dunree, hike the Urris hills, experience stunning beach walks and discover the magical Glenevin waterfall. It’s also a golfer’s paradise – Ballyliffin Golf Club was the Irish Open host in 2018. For a two night stay for two prices start from €318 for weekends and €298 midweek. For availability in August visit www.ballyliffintownhouse.ie.
The K Club, Co Kildare
A must-do for any golfer is to play one of the two Arnold Palmer-designed championship golf courses at The K Club, host to the Ryder Cup in 2006. The hotel is offering an overnight stay with breakfast, one round of golf each on one of their Arnold Palmer designed championship golf courses, the Palmer North or Palmer South Course. The choice is yours from €460 per room per night; www.kclub.ie.
Rathsallagh House, Co Wicklow
Rathsallagh House is very lucky to be surrounded by the championship Rathsallagh Golf Club course, measuring close to 7,000 yards with a par of 72. The Club was originally opened in 1994 by the O’Flynn family, however, since 2015 it has been under new ownership. While Rathsallagh Golf Club is a separate entity to Rathsallagh House, the team can assist in arranging tee-time reservations. An overnight stay is from €174.50 per person sharing for midweek bed, breakfast, dinner and a round of golf; www.rathsallagh.com.
Farnham Estate Spa & Golf Resort, Co Cavan
The golf course at Farnham Estate Spa & Golf Resort is a scenic par 72 parkland spread over 500 acres of rolling countryside and dense woodland, with two quite contrasting nines apparently – a gently challenging front nine exploring undulating meadows, and a testing back nine through denser, more rugged woodland. As for the hotel, it is a restored country house with an emphasis on comfort and self-care – the health spa is unforgettable. An overnight stay is from €179 bed and breakfast per room. Green fees are from €35 per person; www.farnhamestate.ie.
Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, Co Dublin
Once the home of the Jameson whiskey dynasty (the property dates back 172 years), with royal connections to Edward VII (who was a frequent visitor), the 160-acre beachfront property comprises 131 rooms and its own 18-hole championship golf course designed by German golf legend Bernhard Langer and American architect Stan Eby. This course has been described as “everything a course should be” with its rolling fairway and unforgiving rough, and it has hosted numerous amateur and professional events including the Ladies Irish Open. Why not offer a golfing fan one of the many gift vouchers available ranging from a 30 minute lesson, €50, to the “Luxury Couples Treat” which includes a round of golf followed by dinner in the Jameson bar and an overnight stay in a deluxe room with a bottle of prosecco for €300; www.portmarnock.com.
Virginia Park Lodge, Co Cavan
There are many advantages checking into the Lodge, not least the four-course dinner menu curated by chef Richard Corrigan as well as the Lodge’s award-winning breakfast (think Lodge smoked salmon, toasted brioche and poached eggs, a breakfast burrito bowl and freshly baked pastries with homemade preserves). In addition, guests have a choice of activities on their doorstep including Virginia Park Lodge’s nine-hole golf course bordering the estate and overlooking the lough. There are also walking trails in Deerpark forest, clay pigeon shooting, pike fishing on the estate’s lake and a visit to renowned cheesemongers, Sheridans, just ten minutes by car. Kayaking and bike trails can also be enjoyed at Cavan Adventure Centre, a 30-minute drive from the hotel. Prices for bed and breakfast start at €230, while the dinner menu is €85 per person for guests of The Lodge. The Deerpark Huts are €180 per night and available throughout the year; www.virginiaparklodge.com.
The Heritage, Co Laois
Just outside the pretty village of Killenard in Co Laois, The Heritage is perfect for golf lovers looking for a break away, with its Seve Ballesteros-designed golf course. The Heritage’s “Two Game Getaway” package includes two nights accommodation, breakfast each morning, dinner on one evening in the new Blakes Restaurant and two games of golf per person from €490 for two people sharing; www.theheritage.com.
Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Course, Co Kildare
This is a hugely popular golfer’s getaway, which is why its “Play, Stay, Dine” package is a summer hit. The offer includes an overnight stay with breakfast and one round of golf on its 18-hole championship golf course. After a day on the green, guests can enjoy a three-course meal at the hotel’s Sundial Bar & Bistro. Prices start from €189 for total stay; www.moyvalley.com.
Redcastle Golf & Spa Hotel, Co Donegal
With its own private nine hole golf course, 2AA Rosette restaurant and thalassotherapy swimming pool, gym and luxury Cara Organic Beauty Spa, Redcastle Oceanfront Golf & Spa Hotel is an ideal getaway for golfers and their families. Guests are close to no fewer than twelve Blue Flag beaches as well as Inish Adventures where you can enjoy water activities including kayaking and stand-up paddling. Wild Ireland is also close to hand – this new 23-acre wildlife sanctuary features brown bears, wolves, lynx and much more. Current offers include a stay for two nights and enjoy a complimentary third night, which includes breakfast and access to the swimming pool and leisure facilities. Prices start from €240 per room for three nights based on two adults sharing; www.redcastlehoteldonegal.com.
Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort, Blessington, Co Wicklow
This picturesque four-star resort is set on the shores of the Blessington Lakes, at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains. It comprises a luxurious hotel, an 18-hole championship golf course and several self-catering lodges. The Manor House, at the heart of the resort, dates from the 18th century and has been sympathetically restored with opulent fabrics, open log burning fires and original antique furniture. The newest addition to the property is Fia Rua, the hotel restaurant, which overlooks the 18th hole of the golf course with views across the lakes to the mountains beyond. There’s a special midweek overnight rate from €109 per person for dinner, bed and breakfast with a round of golf included; www.tulfarrishotel.com.
The Bushmills Inn, Co Antrim
Northern Ireland has the perfect mix of links and impressive parkland golf courses, one of which is the Royal Portrush, host of The 148th Open. An ideal place to stay along the Causeway Coastal Route is The Bushmills Inn, close to Royal Portrush, which features the Valley course and the world-famous Dunluce course both overlooking the (pounding) Atlantic ocean. Members include professionals Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell. In fact Bushmills Inn has a helipad, should you wish to avail of this A-list amenity. Originally a coaching inn, dating from the 1600s, it’s slightly unconventional with peat fires and interesting nooks and crannies. Bushmills is, of course, a magnet for whiskey enthusiasts and you’ll find each of the 41 rooms are named after Irish whiskies. The distillery is a mere stone’s throw from the hotel, which has its own private cask for tasting in the gas-lit bar. Currently on offer is a “One Night Luxury Retreat” in an elegant room with a four course a la carte dinner and breakfast from €305; www.bushmillsinn.com.
Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, Co Antrim
Set within 163 acres of parkland, Galgorm Resort comprises luxurious guestrooms, a unique Thermal Spa Village, an array of restaurants and a golf course. Galgorm Castle’s championship parkland and six-hole pitch and putt makes it a perfect golfing getaway. It was the host venue to the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and this year ISPS Handa World Invitational will return to Galgorm (on July 28 – August 1). The latter is one of the most inclusive and innovative tournaments in world golf when male and female professionals compete on the same courses, at the same time and for the same level of prize money ($1.5m each). With a field of 288 including Ryder Cup players, multiple tour winners plus former Irish Open champions, tickets for the Invitational are currently on sale from only £5 for juniors and £15 for adults (www.worldinvitational.golf). Should you wish to stay at Galgorm, do book the “Tee It Up” package which is from £298 and includes an overnight stay in an elegant guestroom with breakfast, a round of golf and relaxation in the Thermal Spa Village. There is also the Tee It Up A Longer from £570; www.galgorm.com.
Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh
The five star resort on a 600 acre peninsula offers spectacular views of the Fermanagh Lakelands. It also provides the ultimate 36-hole golf experience and features two championship golf courses including the renowned Faldo Course. Golfers can also hone their skills at The Golf Academy, or practice at the all-weather driving range. An overnight stay with breakfast is from €222 and includes use of the infinity pool; www.lougherneresort.com.
Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Co Down
Stay at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa for your golf break and you can pretty much step out of your comfortable King Koil “cloud bed” and onto the world famous Royal County Down Golf Course – named Golf Digest as the “Best Golf Course in the World”. A favourite of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, this challenging links has been host to the British Seniors, the Walker Cup and in 2015 it was home to the Irish Open. There is a wide range of other excellent courses within an easy drive of the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa including Kilkeel, Warrenpoint and the stunning links of Ardglass. Slieve Donard is offering a “Relax, Dine and Stay” package from £115 per person sharing, which features luxurious accommodation, a three-course dinner and full Irish breakfast; www.hastingshotels.com.
Faithlegg, Co Waterford
Faithlegg golf course was designed by renowned Irish golf course architect Paddy Merrigan and carries his familiar stamp of difficulty, undulating greens, water hazards and perfectly placed sand traps, all of which, complete and heighten the challenge which is Faithlegg. “Stay & play at Faithlegg” is a two-night stay including breakfast and one dinner in Roseville Rooms Restaurant and two rounds of golf on the Faithlegg championship course plus a takeaway lunch from the Busy Bean trailer overlooking the first tee of the golf course, or the Pro Sho. This offer is valid from Monday – Thursday from November to March 2022 and costs €240 per person sharing; www.faithlegg.com.
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