Drawing on its rugged landscape and stunning coastal views, golf in the West of Ireland is easy on the eye yet challenging on the mind. Concentration and pre-planning are of the utmost importance on some of the most demanding courses in Ireland. Many of the courses in the West were originally developed over 100 years ago, with more recent alterations adapting them to suit the modern game.
Greg Norman's first links course is a testament to how skilfully he transitioned from player to parkland architect and then to links designer. In a setting which closely resembles Lahinch just 20 minutes up the coast, Doonbeg offers stunning ocean views on no fewer than 16 holes, 6 of which lead right to the water's edge. Every hole has its own unique character here, with the par threes and short par fours being particularly memorable. Encouragingly wide fairways make the course quite forgiving but, with thick rough growing to knee length, be warned any shot straying beyond the primary cut will be gone forever.
Welcome to one of the most debated, eulogized and generally talked-about courses in all of golf. The Lahinch Old Course bears the fingerprints of no fewer than three architects, with Old Tom Morris putting in the original groundwork (1894) and Martin Hawtree making modern-day refinements to a course whose best features are largely credited to Alister MacKenzie and his 1920s redesign. Perhaps the most notable challenge on this course is one for which no mortal designer can take credit: the wind and weather at Lahinch are hugely unpredictable factors which come and go quickly, affecting play enormously. Discussion in the clubhouse will likely centre around the two most famous holes, the fourth and fifth - known as 'The Klondyke' and 'The Dell' respectively. Here, steep hills and blind shots will give visitors much to talk about and much to blame.
Set against the famously rocky and windswept Co. Galway landscape, the fabulously remote Connemara Golf Club offers great rewards to visitors who are prepared to travel this far west. It is made up of three loops of nine holes, with the A and B loops making up the Championship course. Playing this traditional combination, expect a front nine that is gentle, open and forgiving. From the tenth tee onwards, prepare for a punishing nine holes that are among the most challenging you will find anywhere. If you can shoot to your handicap on the back nine, then you have earned your reward in the clubhouse.
You will struggle to find a more remote golf club in Ireland than Carne - Eddie Hackett's swansong which was opened in the early 1990s. After a spectacular career, Hackett went out on a high and those who make the long journey to get here usually go home persuaded that this ranks among his best work. Like most of the links courses which bejewel Ireland's west coast, Carne is set against a backdrop which is rugged, windswept and enchanting. After a challenging outgoing nine, the journey back to the clubhouse will feel a little more forgiving - but not much.
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.