Northern Ireland golf is probably best known for its two 'jewels in the crown' courses of Royal Portrush and Portstewart but wherever you venture won't stray too far wrong in a landscape of lakes and misty mountains. Having seen a resurgence amoungst young player over the recent years, thanks in no small part to the success of local golfing hero Rory McIlroy, while always having a strong following from foreign visitors, Northern Ireland golf is known for its challenging golf played out on a canvas of spectacular vistas.
Golf has been played at Royal Portrush since 1888, but it was in 1947 that Harry Colt's 18-hole masterpiece was unveiled. It has been know ever since as the Dunluce Links. Like all great links courses, the Dunluce takes masterful advantage of an undulating coastal landscape with well-placed bunkers and merciless rough. The greens, among the best in the world, permit no lapses in concentration. Also typical of links courses is the wind and unpredictable weather. But Royal Portrush remains a fair test of the game for mid-level golfers to world-class pros. The recent addition of two new holes (7th and 8th) has taken the Dunluce to the next level and was rewarded in 2019 with the much-anticipated return of The Open. The Dunluce's sister-course, The Valley Course, would rank as a top-flight championship course if it were situated anywhere in the world but immediately next to the Dunluce.
The third part of the trinity of Northern Irish Golf, Castlerock thoroughly deserves its place alongside Royal Portrush and Portstewart. Just three miles away as the crow flies, the latter's clubhouse can actually be seen from the 19th hole at Castlerock, although a 30-minute drive is required to get there via the twisting country roads of this charming coastal region. Castlerock is famed for its narrow fairways, its blind shots, its deep rough and its high sandhills. Combined with the persistently re-emerging presence of a stream throughout the course, these manifold hazards make the 18-hole championship Mussenden Course a real test for any golfer. While you may travel to this region to visit Royal Portrush and Portstewart, you would be a fool to leave without stopping at Castlerock.
One of three fine courses at Portstewart, The Strand course offers one of the most spectacular opening nines in all of world golf. The course was originally built by Willie Park Jr in 1894 and underwent later alterations under the supervision of Des Griffin. But much of what is played today is credited to an impressive 1990 overhaul. This was undertaken not by a celebrity architect or household name, but by three local men who knew the course best - the club secretary, the groundskeeper and a local school teacher. The results are a Mecca for serious golfers looking to test their links game and, for visiting any player, a serious challenge awaits.
With so many top-flight links courses in the region, Ardglass might not commonly be a tourist's first choice destination in Northern Ireland. But anyone venturing to Royal County Down, just a few miles along the coast, would be foolish not to make the detour to a course that is a challenging but fair test to players of all abilities. As with most Irish links courses, a clear day promises incredible views and, to the east, The Isle of Man adorns the vast expanse of the Irish sea. Allow time to enjoy a visit to the clubhouse which is a fourteenth century castle, once home of the Fitzgeralds, Earls of Kildare.
Although the course will be busy in summer, the blooming heather and gorse during the peak season make Royal County Down one of the most beautiful places to play golf anywhere on the Island of Ireland. Old Tom Morris was paid four gold guineas to build the original course in 1889 before Harry Vardon, two decades later, established what golfers enjoy today. With such a vintage, this is unsurprisingly a very traditional links with natural bunkers, blind tee shots and obscured holes on approach. That might not be to everyone's taste. But visitors from across the pond have plenty of modern courses to choose from at home in the USA. Those travelling to Ireland to experience the traditional game of the Old World should certainly make the trip to this fine example of just that.
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 idyllic 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.