Northern Ireland

Incredible links golf and the Open Championship

Northern Ireland, home of Rory McIlroy & the 2019 Open Championship...

Northern Ireland, home of Rory McIlroy & the 2019 Open Championship...

Northern Ireland is home to some of the worlds greatest golf courses, with Royal County Down ranked number 1 by Golf Digest in all of Ireland. Other links courses ranked in the Ireland Top 100 include Royal Portrush, Castlerock, Portstewart, Royal Belfast and Ardglass. Add in the majestic landscapes, temperate weather and the exciting city of Belfast and you've landed in the middle of a great golf vacation.

Northern Ireland is home to some of the worlds greatest golf courses, with Royal County Down ranked number 1 by Golf Digest in all of Ireland. Other links courses ranked in the Ireland Top 100 include Royal Portrush, Castlerock, Portstewart, Royal Belfast and Ardglass. Add in the majestic landscapes, temperate weather and the exciting city of Belfast and you've landed in the middle of a great golf vacation.

Northern Ireland

  • 5 nights at the Portrush Atlantic Hotel (3 star)
  • Breakfast daily
  • 5 rounds of golf at Royal Portrush, Castlerock, Ballycastle, Portstewart Strand & Portstewart River
  • Car or van Rental (self-drive)
  • Thank you gift from Epic Golf Travel
  • Price includes all taxes and surcharges

 

from $1650 USD pp

Not quite what you’re looking for? Let's tailor your personal golf vacation!

Northern Ireland

  • 4 nights at the Portrush Atlantic Hotel (3 star) & 3 nights at the Europa Hotel (4 star)
  • Breakfast daily
  • 7 rounds of golf at Royal Portrush, Castlerock, Ballycastle, Portstewart Strand, Royal County Down, Ardglass and Royal Belfast
  • Car or van Rental (self-drive)
  • Thank you gift from Epic Golf Travel
  • Price includes all taxes and surcharges

 

from $2100 USD pp

Not quite what you’re looking for? Let's tailor your personal golf vacation!

 

With more than 300 courses in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, some that embrace seaside settings and other that occupy rolling parkland tracts, golf in Ireland has everything the serious course connoisseur could want. Toss in lively conversation in the pubs, acclaimed cuisine and superb hotels along with a plethora of cultural and sightseeing attractions and you have the makings of an unforgettable golf vacation. 

While there are literally dozens of courses that are worthwhile to play while in Northern Ireland, the following are our pick of the ones to hit first...

Royal County Down, Newcastle, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
Perennially ranked in the World’s Top 5, “County Down,” as it’s often called, merges beauty and brawn as with few other courses in existence. The venue for the 2015 Irish Open is an 1889 Old Tom Morris design that as reworked by H.S. Colt in 1926.

Portrush (Dunluce), Portrush, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
The only Irish course ever to host the Open Championship, in 1951, this World Top 15 layout dates to 1888. Another Open is on the way, in 2019. The present links is a 1929 H.S. Colt creation that climbs into the dunes and features one of the greatest holes in golf, the 210-yard, par-3 14th. Amid winds whipping off the Irish Sea, shot to the right will plunge into a 75-foot-deep chasm short and right of the hole.

Portstewart (Strand), Portstewart, Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland
This somewhat schizophrenic layout boasts one of the most stirring opening holes—and opening stretches, really—followed by an older, more sedate and flatter back nine. Chief among the unforgettable holes is the beach and dune panorama that greets the golfer from high atop the first tee. The course is perhaps the most underrated in Ireland, but perhaps no longer, as it hosted the 2017 Irish.

Ballyliffin Golf Club, Ballyliffin, Co. Donegal, Ireland
The Old Links sports some of the wildest fairway contours to be found on any course in Ireland, a layout recently strengthened by Nick Faldo. Pat Ruddy crafted its younger companion, the Glashedy Links and it features soaring elevations, holes that plunge from dune to valley, and also some American touches, such as ponds in play.

Some Great Places to Dine...

The Restaurant at The Bushmills Inn, Bushmills, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
Amid a handsomely decorated space, with an emphasis on a regional cuisine, Bushmills serves up local classics such a prime Ulster beef, pheasant, and locally caught fish, such as the Dalriada Cullen skink. 

Jack’s Bar and Restaurant at the Ballyliffin Lodge & Spa Hotel, Ballyliffin, Inishowen, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Start with eye-catching views of the Donegal Inishowen coastline and cap it off with nicely varied menu, one that includes a seafood chowder starter, Braised Short Rib entrée and Artisan Irish cheeses for dessert. 

Vanilla, Newcastle, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
This contemporary eatery in the heart of Newcastle dishes out inspired cuisine, as evidenced by the steady stream of locals. The Finnebrogue Venison or the Monkfish Laksa, paired with a side of Buttermilk and Black Pepper Onion Rings and a Sticky Toffee Pudding dessert will cure any and all hunger pangs. 

For those interested in non-golf activities, Northern Ireland has spectacular scenery, cities steeped in history, culture at every turn, and a reputation for food and drink that goes far beyond the Bushmills Distillery.

The list of sights not to miss starts with the Giant’s Causeway, its fascinating hexagonal basalt rock formations rising and falling between cliffs and sea, where they were created 50 million years ago. It is one of the island’s biggest attractions but so too is Northern Ireland’s newest creation, the Titanic Centre. This museum attraction sits on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, where the Titanic was built and launched in 1911. Visitors can learn about the world’s most famous ship and experience what life was like on board. The architecture of the Titanic Centre alone is worth the visit.

The city of Belfast is Irelands second largest city and with its two airports it is the ideal starting point for any golfing expedition. A day or two stay here will introduce you to a city that has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years.

From Belfast, the golf trail will undoubtedly take you north to the County Antrim coastline and Royal Portrush, or south, towards Newcastle and Royal County Down. For many golfers, Royal County Down is the promised land – a links created by Old Tom Morris in 1889, and updated and revised by the likes of Harry Colt and Harry Vardon. Old Tom’s original practice green remains and reflects the true speed of this championship course’s greens. With its blind shots, bearded bunkers and gorse and heather-covered dunes, this is a world-class adventure, packed with color and intrigue. Our favorite and a can’t miss for any trip to Northern Ireland.

The route to the northern coastline takes you back through Belfast, where a detour to nearby Royal Belfast, the second oldest club in Ireland, is our strong recommendation.

In much the same way that your arrival at Royal County Down is signaled by the Slieve Donard Hotel’s spire and the mountain backdrop, so the ruins of the 16th century Dunluce Castle announce your arrival at Royal Portrush. And, if you’ve been lucky, you might have enjoyed a detour to the Giant’s Causeway or the Bushmills Distillery. A larger detour might be needed to accommodate fans of the HBO series, Game of Thrones, for there are several County Antrim locations used during filming, including the Dark Hedges.

Golfers can stay in Portrush, or Portstewart, both are convenient to the great courses of this area. Harry Colt’s Royal Portrush is currently receiving a make-over by Martin Ebert, in preparation for the 2019 Open Championship. The views to the Skerries Reef and Donegal Hills might prove distracting on a course that demands every ounce of your attention.

Next door, Portstewart starts with a thundering nine holes diving into, up and over a dune landscape known as God’s Own Country. Many believe it to be the best opening nine on the island and the 1st hole, with its stunning 360 degree views, is an inspiring way to start. If the new clubhouse bar doesn’t tempt you after your round, try the famous Morelli’s ice cream in the village.

And next door again, lies Castlerock, completing this fine triumvirate of old links courses. It is too good to be called a hidden gem, but many treat it as such as Castlerock rarely receives the credit it deserves.

Current Northern Ireland Weather



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Are you ready to get started? Simply fill out our quote page and we'll get back to you within 24 hours! Need some help making plans? Just contact our golf experts for more information.

Are you ready to get started? Simply fill out our quote page and we'll get back to you within 24 hours! Need some help making plans? Just contact our golf experts for more information.