GOLFING BREAKS - 10 OF THE BEST
Ten of the best golfing hotels in Ireland that all have testing championship courses that will be a challenge to even the finest golfers
Roganstown Golf & Country Club Hotel
Swords Co Dublin
Just outside Dublin city, yet with a real country feeling, this hotel is built around a period house and has its own beautiful 7,000 yard Christy O’Connor Jr designed championship course. Conveniently close to many of Dublin’s finest golf courses, it is the only golf hotel in the area also offering gym / leisure facilities and beauty therapies. Add a country house ambience, food – in both the restaurant, McLoughlins, and the bar - plus a high level of comfort and it’s easy to see why this hotel has made a mark.
Nuremore Hotel & Country Club
Carrickmacross Co Monaghan
This fine owner-managed country hotel just south of Carrickmacross hotel, is now firmly on the must-visit list for both golfers and business travellers. The Eddie Hackett designed course is acknowledged as on of the finest amenities in Monaghan, and the hotel has fishing, excellent indoor facilities for leisure and pampering, comfortably arranged public areas and generous guest rooms and suites overlooking gardens and lakes - the perfect place for business or a mini-break.
Roe Park Resort
Limavady Co Londonderry BT49 9LB
This imposing hotel near Derry city dates back to the eighteenth century and is set on its own Frank Ainsworth designed course in lovely rolling countryside, within easy reach of the Inishowen Peninsula and the Sperrin Mountains. There is a pleasant air of relaxed comfort – an impressive foyer, with columns and a curved gallery; spacious, well-appointed guest rooms and suites looking out over the golf course or a courtyard garden; a choice of dining options (formal in Greens Restaurant, less so in The Coach House Brasserie), a leisure centre and spa offer relaxation for golfers and non-golfers alike...
Ballyliffin Lodge & Spa
Shore Road Ballyliffin Co Donegal
Discerning golfers will just love everything this modern hotel in Ballyliffin village offers. Every detail has been considered with the needs of golfers in mind: spacious guest rooms are finished to a high standard with many extras, there’s a traditional bar, and informal meals at Jack's Bar & Restaurant. Excellent leisure facilities include an underground swimming pool and spa, and Nick Faldo’s renovation of nearby Ballyliffin Golf Club’s 6,612 yard Old Course was completed in recent years. (Golf discounts and short breaks offered.)
Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Links
Downings Co Donegal
Dedicated golfers may think they’ve died and gone to heaven when staying at Frank and Hilary Casey’s fine hotel on the shores of Sheephaven Bay. Although large and impressive, this is a very hospitable and relaxing place to stay - and residents tend to make up a sort of community of golfers with all the sociability that implies, both in the hotel and the superb new golf pavilion. Rosapenna offers a wonderfully varied links challenge incorporating 36 holes designed by some of the finest name in course design - Old Tom Morris, Pat Ruddy and Eddie Hackett. Golf breaks offered.
Dromoland Castle Hotel
Newmarket-on-Fergus Co Clare
Visitors to Dromoland Castle often comment that the grandeur of the surroundings enhances the pleasure for guests, without overpowering, and it is a wonderful place to stay. Dining at Earl of Thomond Restaurant is always a treat - outstanding food and service match the surroundings, and then some - and meals at the Golf Club’s Fig Tree Restaurant are invariably excellent too. Since the 6,845 yard championship course was re-designed by Carr Golf and Ron Kirby, Dromoland is very much on the serious golfer’s schedule – and there’s plenty else to do on the estate (fishing, tennis, leisure centre), and County Clare to explore.
Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Club
The Island Ballinakill Co Waterford
This beautiful hotel dates back to the 15th century, and is uniquely situated on its own 310 acre wooded island, reached by a private ferry. The hotel combines the elegance of earlier times with modern comfort, service and convenience: guest rooms have real castle character, and are comfortably furnished in a luxurious country house style - and The Munster Room restaurant is a beautiful room, offering menus peppered with luxurious ingredients and fine modern classical cooking. The 6,814 yard Des Smyth designed course has a unique charm derived from its status as Ireland’s first island golf course, and non-golfers have plenty to do too.
Thomastown Co Kilkenny
Mount Juliet is one of Europe's greatest country estates, and the beautiful Georgian house is uniquely situated beside the River Nore, amidst unspoilt woodland, pasture and formal gardens. The Jack Nicklaus designed course has earned its place as one of Ireland’s finest, twice hosting the prestigious American Express Championship. Weary golfers or non-golfing partners can avail in a spot of pampering in the Spa & Health Club, suites and bedrooms have period decor with all the comfort of modern facilities - and tempting dining options are the elegant Lady Helen Dining Room (which is a serious dining destination), and the stylish Kendals, at Hunters Yard.
The Heritage at Killenard
Killenard Co Laois
An impressive atrium sets the tone as you enter this new hotel, a touch of grandeur underlined by the elegance of a sweeping staircase, crystal chandeliers and marbled floors - and carried through public areas, to generous accommodation in sumptuously furnished suites and guest rooms. Dinner in the comfortable and well-appointed Arlington Room restaurant is a relaxing experience, and the 7,319 yard Seve Ballesteros and Jeff Howe designed course is challenging . The hotel’s spa is matching the same standards, making this a fine short break destination for all.
The Kildare Hotel & Golf Club (K Club)
Straffan Co Kildare
The K Club is known across the world following its very successful hosting of the Ryder Cup in 2006. But it is many years since this elegant hotel set in lush countryside, and overlooking formal gardens needed an introduction to Ireland’s discerning diners or golfers: with its own pair of championship golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer, it boasts unrivalled opulence and there are facilities and activities in abundance for non-golfers too. The River Room restaurant offers formal dining, with all the little details that make a special dining experience memorable, with less formal dining options in the two club houses.
*** For more information on Ireland's finest golf courses and the very best places to eat and stay in while playing them, see our guidebook Ireland for Gourmet Golfers. In this handy pocket guide, co-authored by leading golf writer Dermot Gilleece, we suggest itineraries based on Dermot’s selected courses (53 of the best on offer in Ireland) – and things to do for non-golfers and rest days too.
The very best spa breaks in Ireland