Last updated on November 25, 2023
The slightly different golf holiday in Ireland – this time not on the Wild Atlantic Way!
If you like Ireland, but have already seen the wild Atlantic coast, or just want to do a different tour, then I have some nice suggestions for you in this article.
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This time we travel (virtually) through the Midlands and to the Shannon, Ireland’s heartbeat and lifeline, so to speak. By the way, the term “Hidden Heartlands” is used officially and very appropriately for these regions.
The Shannon is Ireland’s longest and most important river. With a length of 360 kilometres, it is even the longest river in the British Isles. Its source is in the north, on the border with Northern Ireland, not far from the town of Sligo. From there it meanders southwards, into the middle of the island and then south-westwards to Limerick, where it flows into the Atlantic.
In earlier times there were not many roads, or rather paths, through the country and so the river has always been an important transport and trade route.
Even the Vikings, who first plundered Ireland in the early Middle Ages, then established trading settlements and later built settlements and towns, used the Shannon as an important trade route between the interior and the open sea.
With trade, settlements and towns, monasteries and castles sprang up along its banks. People followed the goods and with them the culture. And so here, in the Midlands and along the Shannon, you can still find the original Ireland in many places.
Today, the river and its lakes are mainly recreational areas for weekenders and especially for holidaymakers with houseboats. But tourism remains quite manageable.
For golfers, the region is also very exciting, because there is a large selection of really beautiful golf courses.
Even if you don’t like links golf courses, you’re in the right place, because there are very nice parkland courses here on the Shannon.
So if you want to do a round trip in the heart of Ireland and also play a few enjoyable rounds of golf, then I have a few nice suggestions for you below.
We will start in the area of the spring and then play our way to the mouth of the Shannon.
Incidentally, we live in Ireland (second home) and have travelled (and in some cases golfed) the island many times in all directions. In summer we run our motorbike rental business at our location south of Dublin (www.easycruiser.tours) and we also offer nice guest rooms (www.the-view-accommodation.ie) – also for golfers!
So, now on to the Shannon. We travel from the source to the mouth:
1 Sligo and Castle Dargan Golf Resort
To the northeast of Lough Allen, near the small village of Corbeg, lies the Shannon Pot, the somewhat inconspicuous source of the island’s largest river. A little to the west, before Sligo, you will find the Castle Dangarn Golf Hotel and Spa Resort with a beautiful championship course. Sligo, by the way, is the home of the poet W.B. Yeats and a small town with a lot of history. See: https://www.castledargan.com/golf/.
2 Carrick on Shannon and Carrick Golf Club
Carrick on Shannon is a nice little town, sometimes busy in summer. It is one of the starting points for houseboat trips on the Shannon. Just west of the town, on the shores of Lough Drumharlow, is the Carrick on Shannon Golf Club. See: https://carrickgolf.ie/.
3 Athlone and Athlone Golf Club
Athlone is an interesting and ancient little town in the middle of Ireland. Athone Castle watches over the Shannon Bridge and the great Church of Saint Peter and Paul watches over all. In an enchanting location, right on the lake, is Athlone Golf Club. See: https://www.athlonegolfclub.ie/.
4 Birr Castle and Birr Golf Club
The small town of Birr has a really beautiful castle with lovely grounds and gardens. It is well worth a visit. A few kilometres north of the town is Birr Golf Club. See: https://birrgolfclub.ie/.
5 Lough Derg and East Clare Golf Club
Lough Derg is the largest lake in the Shannon and a beautiful recreational area. Just west of Killaloe you will find East Clare Golf Club in a beautiful hilltop setting with lovely views of the surrounding countryside. See: https://www.eastclaregolfclub.com/.
6 Limerick and the Dromoland Golf Hotel
Limerick marks the transition from river to long estuary. The town has always controlled access to the Shannon and thus to the inland. Even today, the defiant King John`s Castle watches over the river. Just north of the town you will find the beautiful and very large Dromoland Castle. Today it is a 5-star hotel and venue. The golf course nearby is a fixture in the tournament world. See: https://www.dromoland.ie/golf/. If that’s a bit too much for you, you can also play a nice round at Limerick Golf Club. See: https://www.limerickgolfclub.ie/.
7 The Shannon Estuary and Kilrush Golf Club
Even though this is about the Heartlands, if you’re already at the Shannon Estuary, take it all the way to the Atlantic! A particularly scenic detour takes you to Loophead Lighthouse and around the peninsula. On the way there, you can play a round of golf at Kilrush. See: https://kilrushgolfclub.com/.
It doesn’t always have to be the wild Atlantic Way. Ireland is also beautiful at heart – literally!
A trip to the Midlands and the old great river that was the island’s lifeline for centuries is not only beautiful, but also interesting.
Experience Ireland at its core – and enjoy the beautiful river and lake landscapes, the gently rolling green hills, the forests and the moorlands.
And don’t forget the golf courses! Beautiful parkland courses, partly situated on the estates of old mansions and adorned with old trees, partly situated on the banks of the Shannon or one of its lakes and partly on a hill with a wide view over the beautiful landscape.
So, let`t go – off to the Midlands and the Shannon – for playing golf!
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Cover photo credit: photo by Gene Gallin on Unsplash