Last updated on November 25, 2023
The Irish island has many beautiful sides. The wild Atlantic coast in the west is particularly beautiful. There you will find spectacular cliffs, some of which rise more than 200 metres out of the sea.
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But you will also find white sandy beaches and super clear water, dreamy bays, picturesque lighthouses, colourful little towns and every now and then an old castle on the hill.
The Wild Atlantic Way is a 2500km coastal road that stretches from the far north of the island, along the west coast and into the south of the island. It is actually not one road, but a combination of many roads marked as a tourist route.
There are tourists on the Irish west coast every summer – but don’t worry, Ireland is not a country for mass tourism, rather for individual tourism and so the crowds are limited compared to other holiday countries. So much so that even in high summer you see more sheep than cars on many roads.
How do I know that? We live in Ireland (second home) and run a motorbike rental business here in the summer (www.easycruiser.tours). We also offer accommodation in nice guest rooms here (www.the-view-accommodation.ie). Our guesthouse is located south of Dublin, and thus virtually on your way to the southwest coast.
But back to the topic: Ireland is also a paradise for golfers: About 30% of the world’s links courses can be found here on the Emerald Isle.
You’ll also find a wide range of golf courses and clubs of all types and price ranges, from first-class championship courses to lesser-known beginner-friendly courses. Golf is a popular sport in Ireland and there are even courses here where you don’t even need to have a licence to play.
But of course there are also classic and more exclusive clubs with cultivated etiquette and handicap requirements.
So if you want to take a nice round trip along the wild and romantic Wild Atlantic Way and combine your holiday with a few rounds of golf, I have put together a few nice tips for you here.
Why 11 golf courses? Well, in a good holiday week to 10 days you can pretty well go around half the island. With 11 golf courses, you have some choice for your tour.
We start in the southwest and then play north along the coast to Galway. I will write a separate article for the northern Wild Atlantic Way, which I will link for you below. So if you have two weeks or more, you can just travel north along the coast and play.
So let’s hit the first tee:
1 Old Head Kinsale Golf Resort
The list begins with a highlight: Kinsale is the southern starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way. The pretty harbour town in the elongated bay offers a historic fort, all kinds of restaurants and hotels and also a golf course that is quite something: The Old Head is a small headland in front of the bay, which practically only consists of a golf course and the old lighthouse. You can’t get more seaside than this! See: https://www.oldhead.com/golf.html.
2 Bantry Bay Golf Club
Bantry is a bustling resort and located on beautiful Bantry Bay. Bantry House is one of the sights of the region. But the golf course is also worth a visit. It is beautifully situated right on the water. See: https://bantrygolf.com.
3 Glengarriff Golf Club
The Beara Peninsula is scenically beautiful. The southern starting point for a drive around the peninsula is Glengarriff. There this golf course is beautifully situated on the hills with lovely views of the bay and mountains in the background. See: https://www.glengarriffgolfclub.com.
4 Parknasilla Golf Club
Many people know the Ring of Kerry, at least by name. It leads around the Iveragh Peninsula, always around the mountains of Killarney National Park. On the southern ring you will find the Parknasilla Resort and Spa and the Parknasilla Golf Club. It’s “only” a 9-hole parkland course, but take a closer look, the location is a dream and the hotel is not only enjoyed by golfers. See: https://parknasillaresort.com/activities/estate-activities/golf.
5 Waterville Golf Links
In the far west of Iveragh, close to the picturesque Kerry Cliffs, you will find this “highly ranked” and spectacular golf course. See: https://www.watervillegolflinks.ie.
6 Dooks Golf Club
On the northern coast of Iveragh you’ll find this club, voted Ireland’s Most Scenic Golf Club in 2020. A gorgeous links course that is one of the oldest on the island. See: https://www.dooks.com.
7 Dingle Golf Links
The Dingle Peninsula is an attraction in itself, especially Slea Head, the tip of the peninsula, is particularly scenic. And then you can also play golf here, namely at the south-western tip of the island on the Dingle Golf Links. See: https://www.dinglelinks.com.
8 Castlegregory Golf Links
Castlegregory is a small village on the north coast of Dingle. The course was dug into the dunes with picks, shovels and wheelbarrows around 1900. Less well known than the must-play courses, but not charming, it nestles into the landscape. See: https://castlegregorygolflinks.com.
9 Ballybunion Golf Club
North of the town of Tralee lies the small village of Ballybunion. Here, right by the sea, there is really only the sea… and two incredible championship courses: the Old Course and the Cashen Course. Like a roller coaster, you play on, over and between hilly dunes with incredible views of the sea. See: http://www.ballybuniongolfclub.ie.
10 Lahinch Golf Club
The Cliffs of Moher rise over 200 metres above the Atlantic. A little further north is the seaside and holiday resort of Lahinch. There you will find a fantastic links course that winds through the dunes by the sea. See: https://lahinchgolf.com.
Galway Bay Golf Resort
Not far from the city of Galway, this course is beautifully situated right on the water. It therefore offers beautiful views of Galway Bay. See: www.galwaybaygolfresort.ie.
The wild Atlantic coast of Ireland offers the perfect backdrop for a special golf holiday. Here you will find many beautiful golf courses but also fantastic landscapes and many places worth seeing.
Even for non-following spouses, a tour along the Wild Atlantic Way is a wonderful experience.
And golfers have the opportunity to play a links course – with a view of the sea. It could hardly be more beautiful!
In this article we have looked at the southern Wild Atlantic Way. In another article I will write about the northern Wild Atlantic Way – you will find the link below:
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Cover photo credit: photo by Cristina Glebova on Unsplash