Five reasons to take a golf trip to IrelandJune, 2015
If you still need convincing after this then check your pulse
1. THE WILD DUNES
Where does dunescapes quite like the west coast of Ireland. And no wonder – the waves crashing into the beaches and cliffs have not seen land since the east coast of America 3,000 miles away.
The result is an astonishing, rumpled array of dunes and hills both big and small that may be inhospitable to man and beast but could have been made explicitly with
Truly, the holes are on a different scale in Ireland than anywhere else in the British Isles.
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It makes for spectacular tee and green settings as well as a liberal sprinking of blind shots and holes that simply could not be replicated anywhere else in the world.
For lovers of seaside golf, Ireland can be thought of as a links-land theme park.
2. THE CRAIC
Yes, this is a cliche, but the fact remains that there is nowhere on earth quite like an Irish pub, which is why people try to replicate them around the world.
While the best pints of Guinness are certainly to be found within a few miles of the famous St James’s Gate brewery in the heart of Dublin, you could argue that the richest drinking experiences will be gained further afield.
In rural Ireland, no mater how small the village, there is always a pub, sometimes two, and often one that doubles up as a shop during the day.
With a bit of luck you’ll also be able to find some live music so the rich memories of your day on the links will seamlessly blend into a warm glow of foot-tapping and general bonhomie.
3. PLAY THE BEST COURSE IN THE WHOLE OF THE BRITISH ISLES
We think so anyway. Yes, the likes of the Old Course at St Andrews, Muirfield and Royal Birkdale have their many admirers but none can hold a candle to Royal County Down, as was emphatically proved at last month’s Irish Open.
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For sheer drama, this Old Tom Morris links in Newcastle, around an hour’s drive south from Belfast, takes some beating while the greens are the fastest and purest you have most likely ever putted on.
Chances are, you won’t come within a dozen shots of your handicap. And you won’t even care.
4. VISIT THE HOME OF MAJOR CHAMPIONS
When Padraig Harrington won the 2007 Open at Carnoustie it was only Ireland’s second-ever Major championship. The total now stands, remarkably, at 10. Four for Rory, three for Padraig and one each for Darren, Graeme and Fred Daly – back in 1947.
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It’s hard to imagine that more won’t follow in the months and years to come.
Although Portmarnock and Ballybunion may disagree, the spiritual home of Irish golf has become Portrush, which is set to host the Open in 2019. This town on the northern coast is where McDowell was born, Clarke now lives and McIlroy set the course record.
5. YOU CAN CATCH A FERRY
There really is no better way to arrive on a golf holiday than on a ferry. You have the thrill of setting sail combined with the joy of not having to stuff all your golf kit into a flight bag.
You’re going to need plenty of kit for your trip to Ireland. Far better to load up those waterproofs, hats, umbrellas, caps and visors in the boot where they will be when you need them. The journey itself is relaxed and there’s room to take a stroll.
Once you arrive in port, simply drive off the boat and you’re on your way. If you’re in more of a hurry, regular flights are available from most UK airports.