Outstanding links golf in spectacular settings awaits travellers to Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and adjacent Northwest Ireland. There are fewer travellers on these routes and in most cases golf is less expensive than on the well-travelled courses. Combining these two areas makes a wonderful golfing experience, or they can be part of a longer tour that takes in golf in the Dublin area or in Western Ireland.
Golf history extends well over a century, when Royal Belfast became the first golf club in 1881, and the passion for golf continues today. Northern Ireland has dozens of courses created in the late 1800s and early 1900s, many designed by some of the leading and most innovative course architects of the day, such as Harry Colt and Alister MacKenzie (designer of the Augusta National Golf Club).
Two of the world’s best courses
The two highest rated are Royal Portrush and Royal County Down, the latter ranked by many as the top course in the British Isles and one of the top five in the world. Royal Portrush is not far behind; in fact there is an ongoing debate in Northern Ireland about the relative merits of the two. You can be the judge. In 1951 Royal Portrush became the first course in Northern Ireland to host the British Open and continues to be a venue for some of the national amateur competitions on its two highly rated courses, the Dunluce and the Valley Course.
Other great courses in Northern Ireland include Portstewart Golf Club, Castlerock Golf Club, Ardglass in County Down, and Malone in Belfast.
Castles and more
Castles, historic hotels and manor houses such as historic Slieve Donard Hotel, Ballygally Castle, Bushmills Inn, and The Royal Court Hotel welcoming Classic Heritage Golf Tour clients Northern Ireland’s rich cultural heritage means you’ll find 10,000 years of history as you explore the area. Ruins of medieval castles, stone farmhouses, ancient walls and bridges are all part of the terrain here.
Plan to play some of the most unspoiled, pure links courses in Britain or Ireland. According to WorldGolf.com “the Northwest might be Ireland’s best.” In addition, travellers will experience wonderful accommodations, unique restaurants, beautiful and historic sightseeing activities and hospitality second to none.
Great Links Courses
By some counts there are only about 150 true links courses in the world and one-third of them are in Ireland and many are in this region. One is County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point, in a spectacular setting in view of towering Benbulben, one of the most beautiful mountains in Ireland, with the Atlantic Ocean on its west.
Other area courses ranked in the top twenty of Ireland: Carne Golf Links, in a spectacular setting on the Atlantic and Irish sea; Enniscrone Golf Links, one of the most challenging and memorable courses in Ireland; Rosapenna, with two courses, Sandy Hill Links being the newest and most spectacular, winding over pasture land then through narrow passages among the dunes; Ballyliffin, Irelands most northerly golf club—exactly 10 miles due South of Irelands most northerly point—has two outstanding links courses, set among towering dunes, the Old course and Glashedy, only 15 years old, but highly regarded.
How to get here
To play this region, golfers fly into Dublin, Belfast or Shannon and usually do a half circle tour, departing from one of the other airports.
|Day #||Travel and golf
[shows general ranking of course in Northern Ireland or Ireland]*
|1||Arrive Dublin or Belfast||Slieve Donard|
|2||Play Royal County Down [#1-NI, top 5 in world]||Slieve Donard|
|3||Play Royal Portrush (Dunluce) [#2-NI]||Bushmills Inn|
|4||Play Portstewart Golf Club [#3-NI]||Bushmills Inn|
|5||Explore and drive to County Sligo||Downhill House, Ballina|
|6||Play Rosapenna Golf Club (Sandy Links) [top 10-I]||Downhill House, Ballina|
|7||Play Carne Golf Club [top 10-I]||Downhill House, Ballina|
|8||Play Enniscrone Golf Club (Dunes) [top 15-I]||Old Ground Hotel, Ennis|
|Depart via Shannon Airport
(or add other Ireland golf regions)
|This tour starts at $2,750 for golfers, $1675 for non-golfers*|
This tour includes:
- 6 rounds of golf at championship courses with guaranteed tee times
- 8 nights first class accommodations as detailed above
- 8 full Scottish Breakfasts.
- Sharing of a van-rental of a full sized mini-van such as a Grand Caravan, with CDW, unlimited mileage and automatic transmission.
- Sightseeing suggestions.
- Classic Heritage Tours guest and information pack.
- All local taxes and baggage handling throughout.
Does not include air fare to and from Ireland.
*depending on dates, availability, other details of tour.