Golf Course Information:
Sightseeing and Touring:
Ballybunion Golf Club: Cashen Course
Kilcooly's Country House - Ballybunion
Formerly known as Iragh Tí Connor, which translates as "the inheritance of O'Connor", John and Joan O'Connor's fine establishment in Ballybunion began as a 19th century pub with potential and, thanks to their scrupulous attention to detail when planning and sourcing materials like real slates and wooden windows for its transformation, their inheritance now has a quality country house feeling and exceptionally large, comfortable bedrooms. All rooms were carefully refurbished and furnished with antiques to complement the convenience of satellite television, direct dial phones and generous bathrooms with cast-iron tubs and power showers - and many rooms even have working fireplaces, where fires can be lit on request. Public areas, which include the original public bar and a lounge bar (recently transformed to create a smart contemporary space with a welcoming bistro vibe), are also generous in scale, and furnished with style and individuality. In addition to the good food served in the bar, there's a fine dining restaurant where chef Colm O'Halloran has earned a following for his cooking, and a baby grand adds to the atmosphere. Golfing holidays are a serious attraction in Ballybunion and Kilcooly's Country House has a long established reputation as one of the best places to stay.
The Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is considered one of the finest drives in the world. From rugged cliffs to golden beaches, small villages and pastures green to peat bogs and picturesque mountain ranges. This peninsula illustrates all that is beautiful, wonderful and wild in our beloved motherland.
The variety of sites makes this one of the most diverse and interesting drives that one is likely to experience in their travel adventures. From ancient stone forts to landscapes carved out of rock by the Ice Age, from sparkling lakes to winding mountain passes we travel parts of this route to and from Dooks Golf Links and on the ride from DIngle to Kinsale.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, he has described the layout as being, "perhaps the finest piece of links land in the world". It has the ocean on one side and the river on the other to create an amazing setting for this stunning golf course. Each hole has its own character to keep golfers not only on their toes but thoroughly entertained throughout. The 10th and the 13th are the stand out holes that will take your breath away from tee to green. This is a dateless golf course which after playing makes you ask yourself if you've ever played amid quite such surroundings. Rated in the top 100 by Golf Magazine, the vast majority of Cashen's green positions have been copied by many new course designers. Spectacular and supremely challenging, what can never be copied is the majestic landscape and fresh sea air that is distinctly part of the Ballybunion experience. When you play this golf course, you'll need to take a minute to just take it all in as it is truly unforgettable, so remember to bring your camera!
Golf Club Ceann Sibeal (Dingle) is the most westerly course in Europe. It is a short drive from the Dingle Skellig Hotel to the western Dingle Peninsula, whose geography is rugged and mountainous with extensive green valleys. Here, in what feels like a very remote and secluded province of Ireland, Gaelic is still spoken.
The 6,690-yard par 72 layout was co-designed by Eddie Hackett and Christy O'Connor Jr. Like Dooks, the terrain is morainic and sandy, and not so vertiginous you need to jack up your heart rate to play the course, though it is definitely not flat. The architects moved virtually no earth, laying down a route over the land as they found it, using the tall grasses, mounds and environmental areas to good advantage in a simple, straight-forward plan. Way out here just off the Atlantic, you can count on strong winds so practice hitting a knockdown shot before you visit. This course also has a fleet of 8 buggies for those who may want to ride – advance reservations are recommended.
A Breathtaking Challenge - The legendary Tom Watson described the glorious links at Ballybunion Golf Club as the best in the world. High praise indeed for this magnificent test of golf which meanders menacingly through massive dunes on the shores of the Atlantic. Ballybunion Golf Club actually boasts two separate courses. The Old Course (Par 71, 6,598 yards) certainly can bare it's teeth when the wind comes up - and it's often windy! The Old Golf Course is consistently ranked as one of the world's top ten golf courses, features a graveyard by the first tee, which some say is a warning to golfers who breeze through the first five holes only to come face to face with the ever challenging 6th, the fiendish 8th, the daunting par four 11th and the devilishly tricky 15th. Top100Courses.co.uk – consistently ranks Ballybunion Old Course as No. 1 in Ireland, find out why!
The Alexander Hotel - Dublin
The Alexander Hotel sits on a quiet corner of Merrion Square in the heart of Dublin City Center. It is a beautifully appointed, four-star hotel that is in the process of being fully renovated. This renovation is set to be completed by the end of the year. Upon arrival at the O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel, guests find a bright, open lobby area and luxurious yet relaxed surroundings. The hotel features 98 spacious ensuite rooms all of which have a contemporary design and details like orthopaedic mattresses, cashmere blankets and lavish bedding to ensure a peaceful night’s rest. In the morning, guests treat themselves to breakfast buffet served in Caravaggio’s Restaurant. The hotel is also home to Winner’s Bar, a real favorite among the locals and tourists alike. The central location of the Alexander Hotel makes it an ideal base for exploring all the landmarks of Dublin City. This area of Dublin is known for its Georgian houses, historic sights, and great shopping scene. Trinity College, Ireland's oldest university is a large part of the Alexander’s neighborhood. The college was founded in the late 16th century and has one of the most impressive book collections in Europe, including the Book of Kells. The central location of this hotel makes it one of the most convenient picks in Dublin.
National Museums and the Trinity College Science Gallery
All of the government-run museums in Dublin are free and open to the public. Try the National Museum for Natural History, also known by locals as the “Dead Zoo” because of the many taxidermied creatures that live on in the old building. The National Museum for Archaeology has an exhibit on mummified people who were found throughout the country in peat bogs, and the National Museum for the Decorative Arts has an exhibit called "What We Wore," featuring Irish clothing through the ages. These museums are closed on Mondays and national holidays.
The Science Gallery, set just inside the gates of Trinity College, combines the nerdiness of science with the cool factor of an art gallery. You’ll find exhibits focusing on the science of desire and risk, blood, or surface tension. Manned by helpful Trinity College post-graduate students, the exhibits aim to push visitors to ask questions and spark discussions about how the theories of science intersect with our daily lives. These museums are a short walk from the Alexander Hotel.
One thing we know for sure is that our SFGA members love golf! Well, we've had the pleasure of taking our SFGA members all over the world and one of their most popular golf destinations has always been Ireland. So that is why we are going back. Ireland boasts some of the best links courses in the world and Ballybunion, Tralee, Dooks and Old Head are at the top of any Best of Links list. Ireland has so many reasons to visit in addition to the golf including the breathtaking landscapes, the witty humor, fantastic cuisine and the music. Even without a drop of Irish blood in your veins, it’s easy to fall in love with Ireland’s charms, traditions, and strong sense of community.
You will experience these Irish traditions and charms, as this trip combines the perfect blend of golf and sightseeing. And best of all, you’ll have one of the best driver/guides in Ireland who will teach you a bit of Gaelic, discuss Irish history & culture, assist with your bags and chauffeur you around in a private coach for the entire trip. Our trip will take place in the end of August when the weather is typically warmer and the precipitation is considered to be low. It's the best time of the year to visit and the golf courses should be in their best shape. Ireland has become a mecca for golfers and one visit is all it takes to understand why the Emerald Isle is such a magical place.
Please note several important details and changes to the itinerary:
- Ballybunion Golf Club – The Cashen Course – a true masterpiece designed by Robert Trent Jones.
- Ballybunion Golf Club – The Old Course – This is the favorite of many a golfer including Tom Watson.
- Tralee Golf Links – Arnold Palmer’s Jewel, widely acclaimed as one of the finest links courses in the world.
- Dooks Golf Links – One of Ireland’s oldest links and one of the most fun courses you’ll ever play!
- Dingle Golf Links – Nestled on the edge of Ireland's dramatic southwest coastline, a true hidden gem.
- Old Head Golf Links – We’ve never found a better course than Old Head – so we’re playing it twice!
- Optional round at Powerscourt for a $110 surcharge or you may skip the second day at Old Head and play Powerscourt for no additional surcharge.
The Dingle Skellig Hotel - Dingle
Located just a short stroll from Dingle town center and with stunning views of Dingle Bay, the Dingle Skellig Hotel is renowned for its outstanding service, great food and superior hospitality. with fantastic friendly facilities such as The Skellig Crèche, the Gallarus Lounge & the Blasket Bar and Skellig Leisure Club, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Guests can enjoy The AA Rosette awarded Coastguard Restaurant, Leisure Club with 17m swimming pool, Children’s Pool, Jacuzzi and Steam room as well as availing of treatments in the Peninsula Spa which includes an outdoor hot tub overlooking Dingle Bay.Situated in one of the most naturally beautiful places in Ireland, a range of action packed activities are available nearby. From the scenic Slea Head drive, boat trips to the Great Blasket Island and or a round of golf on the Links at Dingle, you will enjoy an unforgettable stay.
Dingle Golf Links also kown as Ceann Sibeal
Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa - South of Dublin
Prepare to leave the world behind at the luxurious five-star Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa. Located on the famous Powerscourt Estate, one of Ireland's finest estates, with its historic house, beautifully manicured garden and its waterfall, the highest in Ireland, you may be just half an hour from Dublin but it could be a million miles away. Outstanding among luxury five-star hotels in Europe and set amidst one of the most scenic and historic estates in the country is Powerscourt Hotel, is a 200-room resort showcasing Palladian-style architecture. The resort’s opulently furnished rooms all have marble baths, separate rainforest showers and featherbeds. Many rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, panoramic views and terraces. All have a seating area and free Wi-Fi. Resort guests can enjoy a host of amenities. Two championship golf courses, a 30,000-square foot luxury spa by ESPA, a signature restaurant and traditional Irish pub are among this luxury hotel’s distinctive attractions. Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa offers guests a choice of 3 delectable dining options. Named after the Japanese deer introduced to the estate by Lord Powerscourt in 1860, Sika Restaurant carries on a long tradition of making the most of local, seasonal ingredients. The Sugar Loaf Lounge gives a window into the elegant, Georgian parlor experience, with Afternoon Tea a specialty. Light meals and cocktails are also served in the Sugar Loaf's gentile ambience. Those who enjoy a more rustic experience can prop up the bar at McGillsIrish pub with a 'Pint of Plain' and their choice of traditional fare - the perfect atmosphere for recounting the events of the day gone by, or planning for the day to come. Despite being so popular with locals and visitors alike, Powerscourt Estate has a great sense of calm and space. Enniskerry, the former estate village, has retained its old-world atmosphere. A stroll among its cafes, bars, artisan shops, antique vendors and boutiques is a must for any visitor. Our participants will stay in luxurious garden view king suites. Located about 45 minutes from Dublin International Airport, we recommend a late morning or early afternoon flight home.
The Trident Hotel - Kinsale
The newly renovated Trident Hotel in Kinsale has an enviable location on the waterfront in Kinsale County Cork and is probably one of the most spectacularly located Hotels in all of Ireland. Our participants will stay in Deluxe Harbour View Junior Suites. The Junior Suites are quite roomy and all have breathtaking views of Kinsale harbor. They are furnished to the highest standards with no less than ‘Super King-size’ Beds. The very large Spanish marble bathrooms with bathtub and separate Power Showers can be a real treat after a wet round of golf. All suites offer air-conditioning as standard and also feature flat screen interactive TV’s and mini bars. The newly refurbished award-winning restaurant, Pier One has breathtaking sea views and even boasts a Wine Cave while the more traditional Wharf Tavern is always cozy, warm and welcoming. Kinsale is one of Ireland's most picturesque towns; it is steeped in history and has a charming old world atmosphere. Only a 5 minute walk from the city center the Trident Hotel is an excellent base to explore the winding streets with the many shops, cafes and restaurants for which Kinsale is famous.
Dooks Golf Club
The Dingle Peninsula Tour
The Dingle Peninsula stretches 30 miles (48 kilometres) into the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland's south-west coast. The peninsula is dominated by the range of mountains that form its spine, running from the Slieve Mish range to Mount Brandon, Ireland's second highest peak. The coastline consists of steep sea-cliffs, broken by sandy beaches, with two large sand spits at Inch in the south and the Maharees to the north. The Blasket Islands lie to the west of the peninsula. We’ll see the famous Beehive Huts, Dunbeg Promontory Fort, enjoy views of the Blasket Islands, visit Gallarus Oratory and more. The peninsula has something to offer to everyone. Among other things: sandy beaches safe for swimming, walking routes for all abilities, a thriving Irish language community, a rich musical tradition, fine dining, sea angling, arts and film festivals, talented crafts persons and some of the best surfing in Ireland
Ballybunion Golf Club: Old Course
Powerscourt Estate Golf Club
Powerscourt Golf Club is part of a 1,000-acre estate that dates back to the 13th century when it was a stronghold for Anglo-Normans coming to Ireland. The club is comprised of two championship golf courses, the East and West. The East Course is Powerscourt's original layout. The parkland layout is enhanced by the panoramic views of both the Atlantic and Sugarloaf Mountain. There are some holes with links characteristics that contrast nicely with the parkland holes that the course begins with. There are trees all throughout the golf course, many of which are over 200 years old. Multi-tiered greens range from mildly to severely sloped thanks to the dramatically undulating terrain. The course has hosted several key events, including the Irish PGA Championship.
We are offering an EXTRA Round on the East Course for anyone who may wish to play one more time before depart. Participants have a choice:
1) You may skip the second round at Old Head Golf Links and play at Powerscourt instead and there will be no additional charge.
2) Or if you wish to play both rounds at Old Head AND play the extra round at Powerscourt you may do so but it will cost $110. We are visiting during the busy season so I am asking that you let me know as soon as possible so I can reserve your tee times in advance. Golf Carts are also available and should be reserved in advance.
3) Should you decide not to play golf at Powerscourt you can enjoy the resort amenities such as the Powerscourt Estate Gardens, take the Powerscourt River Walk – a 5K trail, Falconry, Fishing or visit the Spa.
Blarney Castle & Woolen Mills Outlet
We begin the day with a scenic drive to Blarney. We allow plenty of time in Blarney to give you the chance to visit the world famous Blarney Castle and gardens, and to kiss the Blarney Stone and take home the gift of the gab. We can also explore the magnificent gardens and visit the witch of Blarney. Admission to the castle is included. After a visit to the castle you will have time shop at Blarney Woolen Mills Outlet. What was once a small souvenir shop in a thatched cottage on wheels is now the largest Irish store in the World. Located in the small village of Blarney which is famous for the Blarney Castle, Blarney Woollen Mills now occupies a space of 60,000 square ft and is a key feature of the renowned Irish village.
The Old Midleton Distillery – The Jameson Experience
Jameson Irish Whiskey is world renowned and its history can be traced on guided tours through the Irish Whiskey Visitor’s Center. The Jameson Experience tour commences with an informative audio-visual presentation. Guests are accompanied by a tour guide and follow the Old Distillery Trail through the various historic and architecturally unique distillery buildings such as - Mills, Malting Houses, Corn Stores, Still-houses, old Offices and atmospheric Warehouses. The visitor can encounter superbly restored machinery and dramatic recreations of many of the steps in Irish whiskey production, going back in time to when farmers would have delivered sacks of locally grown Irish barley by horse and cart to the finished product that is now the world renowned Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Visitors can see the largest original Pot Still, with a capacity of 32,000 gallons and the Old Waterwheel manufactured in 1825 to provide motive power prior to the days of electricity, and still turning today. The secret of the Jameson Irish Whiskey lying in the triple distillation, where the spirit was kept for many years in maturing oak barrels imported from Spain, Portugal or America where they would have contained, Port, Sherry or Bourbon previously and this then would give the whiskey its characteristic flavor. Each visit to Midleton Distillery culminates in the Jameson Bar with the Irish Whiskey tasting session when you may have the opportunity of becoming a qualified Irish Whiskey Taster with a presentation diploma!
"The most spectacular golf course in the world" - (Links Magazine)
Unrivalled in terms of the magnificent beauty and setting of the site, Old Head Golf Links continues to take the golfing world by storm. The brainchild of John and Patrick O'Connor, the Club has developed into one of the most recognized and sought after golf experiences anywhere on earth. The Course is 20 minutes from the Trident Hotel in Kinsale...
Old Head is a remarkably dramatic piece of Ireland, built on a 220-acre diamond shaped piece of land, jutting out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The promontory is almost an island with numerous caves running beneath your feet as you play the course. The links and practice area occupy 180 acres and the remaining 40 acres of unspoilt cliff (rising in places to over 300 feet) frame the course. Old Head’s par 72 layout is comprised of five Par 5s, five Par 3s and eight Par 4s – stretching to over 7,300 yards from the tips - with a minimum of six tees per hole. Nine holes play along the cliff tops, and all eighteen holes provide stunning ocean views. With the ever-changing sea breezes, the course provides a stern test to the touring pro and the high handicapper alike. One of our recent trip participants had this to say about Old Head. “I’ve played many great courses including Peeble Beach, but I would choose Old Head as my favorite course in terms of playability and scenic enjoyment. It should be on every golfer’s bucket list.” We feel the same way and hope you’ll take the opportunity to cross it off your bucket list when you join us on our next Ireland Trip
Representing the first European design of Arnold Palmer, Tralee Golf Club in southwestern Ireland is one of the most spectacularly beautiful golf courses you will ever encounter. And while beauty often masks certain deficiencies in a golf course, that is certainly not the case with Tralee. Having completed his masterpiece, Palmer commented: "I have never come across a piece of land so ideally suited for the building of a golf course. I am happy that we have one of the world's great links here". Tralee Golf Course, while it always boasted a magnificent setting, with the course settling down and the greens thriving over time, Tralee has now joined the elite group of Irish links. With views of the Atlantic and white sandy beaches from almost every hole, Tralee earns rave reviews from all who play it.
Kerry Bog Village and Museum
The Kerry Bog Village, located on the beautiful Ring Of Kerry gives you a fascinating insight into how people lived and worked in Ireland in the 18th Century. The village is the only one of its kind in Europe and is one of Kerry's leading tourist attractions. Ideal for families and tourists with spacious parking and a restaurant and bar onsite. The Kerry Bog Village gives people a fascinating insight into how people lived and worked in Ireland in the 18th-19th Century. The village is the only one of its kind in Europe and is a heritage award winner. It was extensively researched prior to being recreated. Great care was taken to ensure the dwellings that visitors see before them, are exact replicas of those used in Ireland in the 1800's. Old sites were visited, ruins measured, and old documents consulted. One of the houses was moved from North Kerry and rebuilt within the Bog Village. The village is located in vast Bog land, visitors will learn about the bog, it's wildlife, and equipment used to extract the turf.
Ireland Golf Adventure
Dublin, Ballybunion, Dingle, Kinsale and Powerscourt, Ireland
August 18 - 31, 2018
Optional Extra Round at Powerscourt:
Golf has been played at Dooks since 1889. It was introduced to the local aristocracy by officers from the Royal Horse Artillery attending compulsory training at the nearby Glenbeigh Artillery Range. The golf course is set out on one of three stretches of sand dunes at the head of the Dingle Bay. Dooks is a traditional links course. As such it has a special place in the annuals of the links golf and must be preserved at all costs. Its character typifies the true meaning of what this form of game should represent. It exists to give enjoyment and challenge without resorting to undue length and so for the golfer, who is seeking a beautiful and tranquil environment to enjoy good golf, Dooks will make you glad you came to Ireland! Hole #13 best illustrates the charm and magic of Dooks. It is a throwback hole to the time when golf began. Greens lay where they fell, and were the better for it.
Tralee Golf Club
Voted No. 3 In the Top 10 Gardens of the World - by National Geographic!
One of the world's great Gardens, Powerscourt is situated 20km south of Dublin City Centre in the foothills of the Wicklow mountains. The Garden was begun by Richard Wingfield in the 1740's and stretches out over 47 acres. It is a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, and ornamental lakes together with secret hollows, rambling walks, walled-gardens and over 200 varieties of trees and shrubs.
The House was gutted by fire in 1974 but recently has been reborn as an exceptional tourist destination. An audio visual brings to life the rich history of the Estate, while the double height Georgian Ballroom has been restored and hosts wedding and special events. The House is now home to the best in Irish design in gifts, clothes and furniture in the Avoca Stores and Interiors Gallery.
Treat yourself to lunch at the Terrace Cafe where you can enjoy exceptional food, from each loaf of Irish bread to Mediterranean tarts or extraordinary salads. Come and explore all that Powerscourt House & Gardens has to offer, there's something for everyone from little explorers to garden enthusiasts!
The Cobh Heritage Centre
The Cóbh Heritage Centre is a museum located in Cóbh, East of Cork, Republic of Ireland. It is attached to Cóbh's railway halt. The "Queenstown Experience", located at the centre, has mostly permanent exhibitions of Irish history. It provides information on life in Ireland through the 18th and 19th centuries, the mass emigration, the Great Famine, and on how criminals were transported to Australia for petty crimes. It also has an exhibition on the history of the RMS Titanic, whose last port of call before it sank was Cóbh (then Queenstown).