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Golf in the North West of Ireland

  • May 23, 2020 // The Consummate Pro

If you are looking for a unique, undiscovered location for your Ireland golf vacation, then golf in the North West of Ireland is for you. In terms of links golf, there are few better areas on the island of Ireland. The region has lagged behind other parts of Ireland, the north and south-west in particular, because of the lack of ‘trophy’ links’. It is easy for a visitor to land at Shannon Airport and find themselves in Ballybunion in under an hour. Turn left out of Dublin Airport and 1hr 30minutes later you can find yourself at Royal County Down. The reality is both of these airports serve the north-west region, it just takes a little longer to get there.

Without question, the north west is € for €, or $ for $, the best value links golf in Ireland. There is a perceived lack of ‘trophy courses’, nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, if you planning on bringing a professional tournament to a remote region, then you have challenges and cost, but if you look at the staging of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin in 2018, anything is possible. This tournament highlighted just how good golf in this part of Ireland is. The links stood up to the very best pro’s from around the world, and the sunshine baked the links golden. In our opinion, some of the best golf courses in Ireland are to be found here.


So, why make the journey North for your golf vacation in Ireland?

It is generally accepted that the north-west struggles to be the first destination of choice for a golf vacation to Ireland. The South West, Northern Ireland and Dublin will likely receive visitor long before folks make the pilgrimage to Donegal. Why? Simply because of world famous names like Lahinch, Old Head, Royal Portrush and Portmarnock. Does the region lacks a degree of “city life”; bustling bars, multiple nightclubs, Michelin star restaurants. The answer to that is simply, yes. But that’s not why golfers should be flocking to the golf in the north-west of Ireland, it’s for precisely the opposite reasons. This region represents what is left of the “real Ireland” in the modern day. The counties of Donegal, Sligo, Mayo and Galway, represent the ‘authentic’ Ireland. Our clients report back that the folks they encounter have more time to converse, are more interested in their story. When you golf in the north-west of Ireland you get to experience a golf vacation in Ireland at its best.


So what of the golf courses?Portsalon Golf Club

This is the point where we could eulogise all day. The magnificent 36 holes (Sandy Hills & The Old Tom Morris Links), soon to be 54-holes (St. Patrick’s Links) at Rosapenna Golf Resort is sublime. Sandy Hills is possibly one of the best on the island. Sandwiched between Rosapenna and Ballyliffin is Portsalon Golf Club. A favourite of Paul McGinley, Portsalon has some of the best opening holes in golf, meandering around Lough Swilly. In western Donegal you will find Narin & Portnoo Golf Links. A recent upgrade by Gil Hanse is due to be unveiled in the first half of 2020 and we are very excited to see the improvements. Co. Donegal Golf Club (Murvagh), is a traditional Eddie Hackett designed links. It is also one of the longest in Ireland, stretching to over 7,400 yards from the tips.  Continuing along the Wild Atlantic Way, you pass Co. Sligo Golf Club (Rosses Point). Host of the West of Ireland Championships since 1923, again one of the best links golf courses in Ireland.

The majestic Enniscrone in north Sligo and Carne Golf Links in north-west Co. Mayo are two of the most dramatic links layouts in Ireland. This is raw links golf, beautifully shaped by mother nature. Some of the highest dunes to be found on any golf course in Ireland are shared among these two links courses. The quality of golf experience, from northern County Donegal, along the west coast is in our opinion second to none.


So what of the standard of hotel accommodations?

An image of Mount Falcon Estate

Mount Falcon Estate

The lodgings that we utilise for our golf trips in this part of Ireland are amongst the best to be found on the island. The Ballyliffin Lodge, and Rosapenna Resort  provide two excellent bases from which to play the Donegal links’. In Donegal town, we really like both Harvey’s Point and The Lough Eske Castle should the itinerary require an overnight in the area. The Mount Falcon Estate however, is one of our clients favourite properties. Situated outside of Ballina, it is the perfect bolt-hole for Co. Sligo, Enniscrone and Carne Gofl Links. At the luxury end of the market, it is impossible to look past Ashford Castle, in Cong, Co. Mayo. We highly recommend that you follow the link and explore a piece of Irish hospitality history.


Conclusion: Should we consider golf in the north-west of Ireland?

The answer to that is a very simple, yes.

Contact The Consummate Pro today and we will help bring you there.