Golf has been played in County Donegal and County Sligo for over 100 years. Two of Donegal's main golf clubs, Buncrana and Portsalon, were founding members of the Golfing Union of Ireland in 1891. The courses of Donegal and Sligo are renowned as being challenging in general and cruel on misplaced shots of any sort. This is especially true in the weather for which the Northwest of Ireland is notorious, heavy rain and strong winds. All told, hand-picking your favoured courses of Donegal and Sligo will make for a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining week of golf.
Ireland's northernmost golf course, the Old Links at Ballyliffin was declared by Nick Faldo to be the most natural links he had ever seen. This may go some way in explaining why the course is affectionately known as 'The Mounds'. Here, the challenging topography includes a litany of moguls, basins, bunkers, boulders, sandhills and thick rough grass which is all but inescapable. Exposed to the capricious North Atlantic, the weather here is windy and unpredictable. When you make it to the greens, your worries are not over: frequently, they are turtlebacked and hard to approach. So, a testing awaits any golfer who ventures this far north. However, for those who do make the trip and stay long enough to enjoy the Old Links and its younger sibling, Glashedy Links, a magnificent 36-hole experience awaits.
At the far-flung tip of Murvagh Peninsula lies the open expanse of dunes and coastal grasses from which Eddie Hackett was commissioned to craft what, since its opening in 1960, has been known as Donegal Golf Club. The gruelling yardage of this expansive links course demands length and accuracy from all visitors who wish to finish close to their handicap. A highlight of the course is the greens, which are consistently fast and true. As you reach for your putter, watch out for subtle borrows and breaks on a surface that holds well.
The combination of two top-class links courses, a fantastic clubhouse and a premium hotel position this as perhaps Ireland's best resort for golf and luxury accommodation. The Old Tom Morris Course still bears the fingerprints of its eponymous architect, but the course has been redesigned by Harry Vardon and James Braid, with more recent refinements by Pat Ruddy. On the newer 'Sandy Hills Links' course, the creative credit goes to Ruddy alone. Fusing modern technology with traditional links design, he has produced a course that rivals its older sibling in every respect. A firm fixture on the bucket list of any serious golfer visiting Ireland.
The brooding presence of Ben Bulben mountain on the horizon announces that you are entering Yeats' country. And your recovery play will need to be as creative and poetic as that great wordsmith's own oeuvre if you stray anywhere beyond the short grass. On a course that takes ruthless advantage of a challenging landscape, staying out of the bunkers and the rough is a must for anyone who wants to share in Yeats' love of Sligo. Although relatively short, this course - known to the locals as 'Rosses Point' - is among the most demanding in Ireland.
Stretching to the distant reaches of the Bartragh Peninsula, Enniscrone (also spelled Inishcrone) is notorious for its dramatic coastal dunes and its treacherous, unforgiving rough. As with most links courses in this part of the world, wind is also a factor on even the calmest of days. So this is a course which rewards cautious, considered play. When contemplating a daring shot, risk-reward players may want to think carefully about the risks before they covet the rewards. This is a deservedly popular course attracting players from across the globe, and summer bookings are advised only well in advance.
Adare is a small town in Co. Limerick, known for its quaint and colourful thatched cottages. Adare is considered to be one of Ireland's most beautiful towns so stop and take in the view. Don't forget your camera today - the perfect chance to capture the essence of old Ireland.
Explore Adare Village along the Wild Atlantic Way
Take a journey through this once troubled city. See the murals of the Loyalist Shankill Road & Nationalist Falls Road. The Troubles took their toll on the economic life of Belfast but the past ten years of peace have returned much prosperity while the genuine friendliness of the city never left.
Originally built in 1823, Blarney Woollen Mills was mainly used for the spinning and weaving of wool. After it closed in 1973, it reopened in 1975 — as an Irish heritage shop.
The Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre commemorates the last pitched battle fought on British soil, in April 1746. Learn more about the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and return the House of Stuart to the British throne.
Located within Glenveagh National Park, Glenveagh Castle was built by Captain John George Adair between 1870 and 1873. Having made his fortune through land speculation in America, Adair return to Ireland and began large amounts of land in County Donegal. The castle was built in the Scottish Baronial style and is surrounded by a garden and commands stunning views of the nearby mountains, lakes, woodlands and valleys.
About Highland Folk Museum is a museum and open-air attraction located in the Scottish Highlands. It is designed to showcase the domestic and working lives of the early highland people.
Located alongside the River Shannon in County Limerick, on King's Island. Dating back to 922, to a time when Vikings were the inhabitants of the island (Thormodr Helgason, the Viking sea-king, built the first settlement here. The castle itself was built in 1200, under the instruction of King John of England.
Located close to the Killarney National Park, Moriarty's is an Authentic Irish Gift Store and Restaurant. Hand crafted Irish jewellery, Waterford Crystal and classic and modern tweed fashions and furnishings are all on offer at the gift store. The restaurant is an 85 seater offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Mount Congreve Gardens. Located in Kilmeaden, County Waterford, Mount Congreve Gardens is an 18th century Georgian estate and mansion. It was designed by the same architect that created both of Waterford's cathedrals, John Roberts.
Recently recognised as being one of the top 10 gardens in the world, Mount Stewart is a rich tapestry of planting plant life and stunning walking trails. The house dates back to the 19th century, and was the Irish seat of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family.
Located on the grounds of the expansive and idylic Killarney National Park. Muckross House, and its 11,000-acre grounds, was donated to the Irish state in 1932.
Located on the grounds of the picturesque Muckross House and its impeccable gardens. Take a step back in time and see the Irish farming lifestyle of the 1930s and '40s. A time when the horse was responsible for much of the labour and the weather was the be all and end all in terms of production.
The Quiet Man Museum. A reproduction of the quaint thatched cottage from the John Wayne starring, John Ford directed movie of the same name. all costumes, artifacts and furnishings have been recreated in precise detail, to reflect the setting of the 1952 classic. Located in the picturesque village of Cong, County Mayo.