To many travelers, Ireland evokes images of rolling green hills, a pint of Guinness and waves crashing against steep, craggy cliffs. To others, it's all that and one of the ultimate global destinations for golf. A bucket list trip for many, there's no need to sacrifice quality accommodations for a golf-oriented trip around the Emerald Isle, whether traversing the Northern or Southern Ireland circuit.
Indagare has culled our Members' favorite courses and paired them with our recommended hotels for a preliminary guide to conquering Ireland's golf scene. Of course, as there’s no shortage of great courses in-country, there are a host of additional golf courses in Ireland that we can recommend, as well.
*Please note, many of these courses require bookings far in advance of your arrival date.
Contact Indagare to recreate any of these itineraries, or a combination of the three, for a golf-filled trip to the Emerald Isle.
: One of the oldest clubs in Ireland, founded in 1889, Royal County Down is located in the Murlough Nature Reserve with two 18 hole courses. Look out for blind drives and high winds.
Ballyliffin Golf Club: Set in County Donegal, Ballyliffin's two links courses are in great, refreshed condition. Often compared to Southern Ireland's Waterville, bunkers can be quite a challenge.
WHERE TO STAY
: Donegal's only true, 5-star hotel product, Lough Eske Castle is a grand, Elizabethan-style estate dating to the mid-19th century. Large oak staircases lead to the castle suites, and common spaces—which feature plush velvet furnishings, candelabras and gothic windows—feed into the hotel's beautiful gardens and grounds. Also new since the 1800s: a beautiful spa and multiple dining outlets. For any non-golfers, this is the best homebase for exploring all that Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way have on-offer.
: Just 10 miles from Dublin, Portmarnock is ideal for travelers hoping to avoid heading too far afield, but still in need of a great course. All of the golfing greats have played here, and there's an excellent, championship-level practice facility as well.
European Club: Beautiful sand dunes and ocean views envelope this 20-hole course, and while there are challenges throughout, any layman golf-enthusiast will enjoy playing where Tiger Woods holds the links record.
WHERE TO STAY
: Dublin's premier hotel, a grande dame property made up of several Georgian townhouses, The Merrion is at once elegant and homey, while providing easy access to all of Dublin’s best sightseeing and dining. Rooms come in light colors and subtle plaid and floral patterns, giving them a relaxed but refined atmosphere, with Irish antiques adding the finishing touches.
Ballyfin: An intimate country home-cum-lavish retreat 90 minutes outside of Dublin, Ballyfin is one of Indagare's favorite estate properties in all of the British Isles. When golfers aren't taking advantage of the nearby courses, we recommend taking time here to indulge in the resort's all-inclusive program, which includes archery, falconry and horseback riding on the more than 600-acre-estate.
: Likened to Pebble Beach, but better, Old Head was founded by brothers—and renowned course developers—John and Patrick O'Connor in the 1990s. Play along the cliffs for 18 holes, and easily pair a round here with another southwestern course by chartering a helicopter. This County Cork course has an on-site helipad.
Waterville Golf Links: Conquering Waterville is no easy feat: it’s an old world course in the truest sense: troublesome and fast, brilliant and beautiful. The Back Nine is especially magnificent, and while it hasn't hosted the same number of tournaments as some other spots, it should be at the top of any golfer's list.
Tralee Golf Club: Noted as Arnold Palmer's first European course, Tralee's 18 holes are all aptly named (The Castle, Ryan's Daughter), but markedly different. From the first nine to the next, you'll see a major variance in scenery and style, almost as if you're playing two entirely different courses.
WHERE TO STAY
: Luxuriate in style at Adare Manor, which seems to breathe authentic Irish hospitality in its décor, service and on-site activities. Have a cuppa in Minstrels Gallery or indulge in a spa treatment at the property's La Mer spa after a long day of golf. This property will play host to the Ryder Cup in 2026—so it’s worth a round of golf, as well.
Contact Indagare for insider tips and exclusive experiences during your golfing trip to Ireland.
We only feature hotels that we can vouch for first-hand. At many of them, Indagare members receive special amenities.Get In Touch