Not only does Ireland boast golf courses of incredible quality, but many of those courses are attached to some of the most luxurious castles, hotels and resorts to be found anywhere in the world.
Golf may be an outdoor game and many players may enjoy more challenging weather conditions but there are also those who prefer a more leisurely game with a little bit of comfort thrown in afterwards. They want to be able to stroll among beautiful scenery, hit a few balls, and then enjoy what might be called the “apr?s golf”.
And Ireland’s offering in this regard is second to none. The entire island is replete with courses which are attached to top quality hotels and resorts, where you can walk from the 18th green into the lap of luxury. Where you can refresh yourself with an invigorating swim or spa treatment, relax over a meal in a five star restaurant, and unwind over a digestif in a luxurious lounge before retiring to bed.
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Just south of Dublin you’ll find the Brooke Lodge Hotel and Wells Spa, a stunning 4-star hotel set in a beautiful Wicklow village. Home to the dramatic Strawberry Tree – a highly acclaimed organic restaurant, and the truly luxurious Wells Spa. Macreddin Village boasts Actor's Country Pub & Brewery, an equestrian centre as well as the Paul McGinley designed Macreddin Brook golf course which will be opening for Play in September, just in time for the Ryder Cup.
A little further south, less than two hours from Dublin, there is Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Club. This marvellous facility is uniquely situated on a 310 acre island overlooking the estuary of the river Suir, three miles from Waterford City. Access to the island is by a chain linked private car ferry. Furnished with antiques and open fireplaces, the 15th century castle combines gracious living of an elegant past with every modern comfort service and convenience, an 18 hole championship golf course and excellent dining experience.
Not far away is the award winning Mount Juliet Conrad hotel which is set on one of Ireland’s most prestigious golfing estates and home to the 2002 American Express World Golf Championship. Horse riding, angling, tennis, clay target shooting and archery are among the selection of activities on offer at Mount Juliet. Those who prefer to remain indoors can choose the stylish health club and spa or simply relax in the most idyllic surroundings imaginable.
Moving along the south coast to County Kerry you come across Parknasilla. When you first visit Parknasilla you will be overwhelmed by the beauty of its location. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, majestic seascapes, rugged mountains and lush woodlands nourished by the warm Gulf Stream combine to make it an unspoiled haven of beauty and peace. Staff have been welcoming guests to this majestic place since 1895 and with its own golf course on site you have a complete, self-contained luxury experience.
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Just a short drive away is the Park Hotel in Kenmare, County Kerry. Also dating back to the late 19th century this hotel offers a heavenly location overlooking the beautiful Kenmare Bay. Guests can also indulge in the ethos of a true spa to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit after some play on the 18 hole golf course.
Moving north up the coast to County Clare there is the magnificent Dromoland Castle Hotel, one of Ireland's finest castle hotels which can trace its ownership back through history to Gaelic Irish families of royal heritage. The castle offers deluxe accommodation surrounded by breath-taking scenery, absolute luxury and exceptional service. Its international reputation for excellence is reflected in its award-winning cuisine in both the Earl of Thomond and Fig Tree restaurants. Other facilities include fishing, shooting, horse riding, a health and leisure spa, and a newly designed 18-hole championship golf course.
Moving slightly further north on the banks of the Shannon there is the Glasson Golf Hotel and Country Club. This lakeside hotel and championship golf course offers 29 luxury bedrooms designed with the discerning golfer and leisure guest in mind.
And the northern part of the island is not short on luxury golfing breaks either. Standing on the wooded slopes of the Holywood hills overlooking Belfast Lough is the magnificent Culloden Hotel.
Originally built as an official palace for the Bishop of Down, the hotel stands in its own 12 acre estate and the Elysium Spa offers a full range of health and leisure facilities. Close by is the beautiful Holywood golf course with its breathtaking views over Belfast Lough the hilly parkland course is a real treasure and is ideally placed for the travelling golfer who wants to take full advantage of its great location.
County Derry boasts the Radisson SAS Roe Park Hotel in Limavady. This modern well equipped hotel and golf resort is set on a historic nineteenth century estate with an emphasis on quality cuisine and large spacious bedrooms well suited to families.
Back towards Belfast is the Templepatrick Hilton Hotel, winner of the Northern Ireland Tourism Award for Hotel of the Year 2006. Set in 220 acres of parkland and appointed with all the luxuries and amenities you expect from a Hilton Hotel the Templepatrick has a golf course, a health-club and modern conference and banqueting facilities.
Finally, no mention of luxury golf breaks in Ireland is complete without The K Club, the venue for the 2006 Ryder Cup Matches and Ireland’s first five red star resort located just 35 minutes from Dublin City and Airport. This elegantly restored country house opened in 1991 as a luxurious hotel and country club and offers the highest standards of comfort, service and cuisine. Each of our 92 bedrooms and suites has stunning views overlooking the golf course and gardens.
The Health and Beauty Club, fishing on the River Liffey and lakes, claypigeon shooting, tennis, squash and a gym are some of the activities available at The K Club – not to mention the golf, of course.
These are just a few of Ireland’s many luxury golfing destinations – to find out more about these and the many others contact your local Tourist Information Office or log on to www.discoverireland.com