The Best Links Courses in Ireland

Golf has been played in Ireland since 19th Century and it remains one of the most popular sports. Combining the Irelands rugged coastline and warm Irish hospitality, golf experiences in Ireland should be on every golfer’s bucket list.

With fewer than 200 links golf courses in the world, Ireland is home to 50 of the most prestigious. Whilst these 50 courses stretch along the entire length of Ireland’s impressive coastline, some of the best courses in Ireland can be found in the areas surrounding Dublin and Limerick.

To help inspire your own golf holiday in Ireland, we’ve shared our favourite links courses on sides of the coast.

West Coast Ireland Golf Holidays

Consisting of some of Irelands most dramatic and spectacular landscapes, the long west coast makes a fantastic location for a golf holiday. Shaped by the persistent Atlantic wind, peninsulas, ports and tiny islands are scattered along its length.

Famous for their warm welcome, cities such as Galway and Limerick are close to Shannon Airport, which serves many major airlines.

Where to stay

Combining its convenient location with authentic Irish friendliness, Limerick is the perfect location for a golf holiday to Ireland’s west coast.

Close to famous golf clubs, Limerick contains one of the most iconic views in Ireland: the River Shannon winding around the 12th century King John’s Castle.

What to do

In addition to golf, the west coast offers plenty of additional activities.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Drive along the Wild Atlantic Way, one of the most scenic drives in the world. A winding coastal road that is notoriously difficult to navigate, spend time at the famous Cliffs of Moher and admire the view.
  • Get a ferry across to the Aran Islands and experience Ireland’s island life.
  • Explore the rugged wilderness and rich natural beauty of Connemara National Park.
  • Enjoy the famous nightlife of Galway.

Where to play

Ballybunion Golf Club

Ranked in the Top 20 in the World by Top 100 Golf Courses, Ballybunion Golf Club is a must-visit when visiting Ireland on a golf holiday. Set amongst the most spectacular and formidable sand dunes in Ireland, the club boasts two equally impressive golf courses.

Whilst the original course, known as the ‘Old’ Course encourages golfers to overcome natural challenges, the ‘Cashen’ course provides the true challenge. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior, the course features higher dunes, deeper valleys and greens more undulating than its predecessor, requiring accurate precision from the start.

Shannon Airport to Ballybunion Golf Club transfer time is approx. 1 hour 30 minutes.

Lahinch Golf Club

Celebrating 125 years of golf, Lahinch Golf Club is one of the iconic links golf clubs lining the Irish coast. Situated next to Liscannor Bay, the club boasts two 18-hole golf courses, one of which being a championship course. Host to the South of Ireland Championship each September, the course has maintained traditional links course whilst simultaneously embracing the modern game.

Shannon Airport to Lahinch Golf Club transfer time is approx. 50 minutes.

Tralee Golf Club

Offering golfers enchanting views across Tralee Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Tralee Golf Club boasts an Arnold Palmer-designed course that has achieved worldwide status. Whilst the first few holes play across the level terrain, the majority hug the coastline and are routed through rugged dunes and ravines. A captivating course from the very beginning, the course features a wide variety of holes that are certain to grab your attention.

Shannon Airport to Tralee Golf Club transfer time is approx. 2 hours.

Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg

A jewel between Lahinch and Ballybunion, Doonbeg is the only course designed by Greg Norman in the British Isles. Named as the Best Golf Resort in Europe by Conde Nast Traveler, the club covers an impressive 400-acre site. Despite being designed, and now owned by an American, the course has a traditional feel which embraces its spectacular 100ft sandhills rather than changing them.

Shannon Airport to Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg is approx. 1 hour.

East Coast Ireland Golf Holidays

As a result of its strategic position and extremely fertile land, the east coast of Ireland saw the majority of development, leaving behind astonishing architecture amongst lush farmland.

Framed by the River Shannon and the Irish Sea, the areas 5000 years of history contrasts with its vibrant modern cities. Easily accessible via Dublin Airport, the coast shows visitors the best of ancient and modern Ireland.

Where to stay

One of the most popular destinations to visit in Ireland, Dublin is perfect for golfing holidays to the Emerald Isle. Sitting in the centre of Ireland’s east coast, Dublin is a bustling city filled with the nation’s history and culture.

Close to major golf courses, it is a convenient location for a golf holiday to Ireland.

What to do

Apart from playing at some of the best golf courses in Ireland, the west coast offers plenty of additional activities, including:

  • Explore Cork and the historic Blarney Castle in the south.
  • Hike the countless trails in the spectacular Wicklow Mountains.
  • Visit the Guinness Storehouse and see how this famous factory works.

Where to play

European Golf Club

Nestled between the coastal towns of Wicklow and Arklow, European Golf Club presents a unique golf experience that is ranked in the world’s top 100 golf courses. Designed by Pat Ruddy in 1993, the course features a 20-hole links layout that will challenge players of all abilities. Played against the contrasting Irish Sea, the course has attracted some of the best golfers, with Tiger Woods hold the record of 67.

Dublin Airport to European Golf Club transfer time is approx. 1 hour 5 minutes.

Portmarnock

Located on its own sandy peninsula, Portmarnock Golf Club is an iconic course just 8 miles northeast of Dublin. A natural links course featuring water on three sides, players are at the mercy of the wind if they are to score well. Boasting views to the south of Ireland’s Eye (a small island), the course has established an international reputation and has hosted numerous tournaments including the Irish Open, the Canada Cup and the Walker Cup.

Dublin Airport to Portmarnock transfer time is approx. 20 minutes.

Royal Dublin Golf Club

Situated on Bull Island in Dublin Bay, the Royal Dublin Golf Club was founded in 1885 and was granted royal patronage by Queen Victoria. Rebuilt by Harry Colt in 1920 following severe damage during WW1, the course is a traditional ‘Scottish’ out and back links which is unusual for this area. A favourite of Christy O’Connor, the course has hosted numerous tournaments including several Irish Opens and has seen the likes of Ballesteros and Langer claim victory.

Dublin Airport to Royal Dublin Golf Club transfer time is approx. 30 minutes.

The Island Golf Club

The Island, as its name suggests, was once located on an island but is now attached to the mainland, sandwiched between the Irish Sea, the beach of Donabate and the Broadmeadow on a spur of links land. Despite being ranked consistently as one of the best golf clubs in Ireland, The Island is relatively unknown, and players can enjoy this hidden gem. Recently host to the Irish Qualifying Competition for the Open Championship in 2005, this natural links course is sure to provide a memorable golfing experience.

Dublin Airport to The Island Golf Club transfer time is approx. 20 minutes.

We hope this blog post has inspired your next golf holiday. If you’re planning a golf holiday in Ireland, don’t forget to get a quote for your transfers from Golf-Drives.

Golf-Drives provide reliable & hassle-free transfers for your entire golf holiday so you can enjoy the 19th hole! Book your transfers from the airport to hotel or hotel to course online now!