Last updated on November 25, 2023
At around 2500 kilometres long, the Wild Atlantic Way is the longest coastal road in Europe – objectively. It is certainly also the most beautiful coastal road in Europe – subjectively.
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I admit I’m a bit biased, because we live in Ireland. At least as a second home. In summer we run our motorbike rental business here, south of Dublin (https://www.easycruiser.tours). We also offer nice guest rooms for golfers, hikers, motorcyclists and other travellers (https://www.the-view-accommodation.ie).
We have travelled the Wild Atlantic Way, i.e. the wild west coast of Ireland, many times and are always fascinated by the truly spectacular coastlines and landscapes you can see there.
Most travellers probably rent a car at Dublin Airport and go on a nice road trip and experience a wonderful holiday. As a golfer, you can type that again and always have a nice round of golf on your road trip – even on one or more of Ireland’s fabulous links courses!
We looked at the southern Wild Atlantic Way in the previous article. I’ll link it again for you at the bottom of the text.
Now it’s time for the northern Wild Atlantic Way, where I would like to introduce you to 9 great golf courses on the Wild Atlantic Way. That’s enough suggestions for a one-week round trip. If you have more time, you can combine the northern round with the southern round and maybe even do the whole 2500 kilometres of the WAW.
We start at Galway and then play our way up into the far north of Ireland.
1 Connemara Golf Links
Connemara is rugged country to the far west of Galway. It’s all rocks, bogs and mountains…and then there’s an incredible 27 hole championship links course! Located in the very west of Connemara, west of Clifden, it nestles into the rugged landscape – an incredible course in an incredible location! See: http://www.connemaragolflinks.com/.
2 Mulranny Golf Course
To the west of Newport is the beautiful Achill Island. It is easily accessible via a bridge. Halfway there, is the small village of Mulranny. There you will find a “Nature Designed Golf Course”. In the past, these courses were built into nature with minimal alterations, mostly without any mechanical support, i.e. painstaking work by hand. The course overlooks the beautiful Clew Bay with its many small islands. On the other side of the bay you see a striking sugar loaf shaped mountain. This is Croagh Patrick, the holy mountain of the Irish. See: https://www.mulrannygolfclub.com/website/.
3 Carne Golf Links
North of Achill Island is the Belmullet Peninsula. In this remote location you will find one of the lesser known but certainly one of the most spectacular golf courses in Ireland, the Carne Golf Links. This is also a Nature Designed Course. You can find a great film on Youtube – just click here. For the website of the golf course see: http://www.carnegolflinks.com/.
4 Enniscrone Golf Club
Close to the town of Ballina is the small village of Ennsicrone, right by the sea. There is a beautiful white sandy beach – and there is a wonderful 18 hole championship course, the Dune Course. There is also another 9-hole course. See: https://enniscronegolf.com/.
5 Donegal Golf Club
Donegal is the main town of the eponymous County Donegal. In fact, it is a nice little harbour town. The River Eske flows into the sea there. There are several sandbanks in the estuary – and Donegal Golf Club is located on one of these sandbanks. But don’t worry, even if you are almost in the sea here, you can still play dry-footed at high tide. See: https://www.donegalgolfclub.ie/.
6 Narin & Portnoo Links
Northwest of the small town of Donegal lies the small seaside resort of Naran with an elongated crescent-shaped sandy beach. In front of it is the small island of Inishkeel. The old monastery on Inishkeel was founded in the early Middle Ages and was a place of pilgrimage for a long time. Today, you can visit the little sight by excursion boat and then play a nice round of links golf in the dunes off the coast. See: https://narinandportnoolinks.com.
7 Cruit Island Golf Club
A little further north, a narrow headland juts out into the Atlantic. Offshore, the small island of Owey Island lies in the rushing surf of the Atlantic – “Next Stop America”. Only a tiny road leads to the rocky peninsula, where there is nothing but a few windswept cottages. Nothing? Far from it! Because here, in this spectacular setting among the rocks, you will find a natural 9-hole links course – simply incredible! See: https://www.cruitislandgolfclub.com/.
8 Rosapenna Golf Links
In the very north of County Donegal lies Tramore Beach, a 5 kilometre long white, wide sandy beach. The whole north coast is beautiful. The long beach is accompanied by rolling dunes. The Rosapenna Golf Links is located in these dunes. The associated hotel is the ideal base for an exciting round of golf right by the sea. See: https://www.rosapenna.ie/.
9 Portsalon Golf Club
The northernmost point of the Irish island is Malin Head. Many tourists drive there and then stand perplexed at the headland, where there is actually not much to see. Much more beautiful – in my opinion – is Fanad Head, a little to the west. The drive around the peninsula is beautiful and the late Fanad Head Lighthouse is really worth seeing. On the way there, you pass Portsalon. South of Portsalon there is the several kilometres long sandy beach Ballymastoker Beach and a beautiful links course in the dunes. See: https://www.portsalongolfclub.ie/.
Well, are you curious? Ireland is a wonderful island even if you don’t play golf. But golfing really is a popular sport here!
There are almost 400 golf courses on the island of Ireland with a population of almost 5 million. For comparison. Germany has about 700 golf courses…but with almost 85 million inhabitants!
So the population density in Ireland is low, but the golf course density is amazingly high! In addition, about a third of all links courses in the world are found here on the island.
So you have a lot of choice of great courses for your trip along the Wild Atlantic Way. I have been able to give you a first impression with this article – but nothing replaces the round on the spot!
And with that, I wish you a great golf holiday on the northern Wild Atlantic Way!
You can find my article on golfing on the southern WAW linked below:
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Cover photo credit: photo by Christoph Keil on Unsplash