Podcast conversation with Jim Dondero.

It’s well known Ireland is a bucket list golf destination. It’s also full of quaint towns like Cork, Kinsale, and Adare. It’s very possible to plan a golf focused trip with both golfers and non golfers and have them both be very happy.

Before we dove into Ireland, Jim and I touched on the challenges booking St. Andrews in Scotland right now.

For a 7-9 day Irish itinerary – whether you are golfing or not, for a cultural and active trip, we suggest a similar route. Fly into Dublin, visit Counties Cork, Kerry, and Clare and then fly home out of Shannon.

The amount of beautiful links courses is extensive:

  • Portmarnock
  • K Club
  • Cork GC
  • Old Head
  • Ballybunion
  • Waterville
  • Hogs Head
  • Adare
  • Tralee
  • Kenmare
  • Dooks
  • Lahinch

and many more!

There are also lovely boutique hotels and big, beautiful castles like Adare Manor, Ashford Castle and Ballyfin.

Jim told me the #1 attraction in Dublin is the Guinness Museum and splurging for the Connoisseur’s Experience is a must. The seventh-floor Gravity Bar offers a stunning view of the city and is the place where visitors also receive a complimentary pint of Guinness. Of course you’ll also want to stop at a pub – Doheny & Nesbitt and O’Donahues are two favorites.

If you are a U2 fan, visit the Liquor Rooms. Bono and The Edge own the Clarence Hotel where parts of the music video A Beautiful Day were filmed on the roof.

For a true Irish walk, it’s a must to stroll around Merrion Square – quintessential Georgian Dublin. For a different side of Dublin, consider a visit to the Kilmainham Gaol Museum. The infamous jail tour takes you inside the jail and shares the conditions that prison inmates faced.

County Cork includes the inimitable Old Head Golf Course, set on a spectacular peninsula. The region also includes one of Jim’s favorite beach walks at Inchadoney Beach. While in the town of Cork walk through Oliver Plunkett Street, voted the #1 street in Ireland. You’ll find some of the city’s top pubs like The Oliver Plunkett, The Bróg, The Old Oak and Clancy’s Bar.

County Kerry has six of the most famous golf courses in Ireland. When you aren’t on the course, you can stay at beautiful Park Hotel Kenmare, Adare Manor, or Sheen Falls Lodge. The culinary scene ranges from classic pubs (Sean Og’s, Kirby’s) to Michelin star dining at the Oak Room at Ballybunion.

Finishing off at County Clare, you will be well located to play at Lahinch and then to choose to stay at Dromoland Castle, Gregan’s Castle, or a little further at Ashford Castle. While you are here, take in the cliff walks of the Cliffs of Moher or Kilkee, go horseback riding, fishing, or even surfing in Lahinch, one of the most popular places in Ireland.

OTT – if you are trying to squeeze in extra rounds of golf, a helicopter comes in handy. We have access to single or double pilot helis.

The number of fascinating people you will meet on your trip to Ireland is unlimited! From your driver and caddy who will fill your ears with stories and lore, to the pub bartenders, to the Guinness guides.

Takeaway tips:

  • It’s important to bring the proper clothing on your trip and each day – for wet and dry weather
  • Make sure to bring a card that proves your handicap
  • It’s important to book ahead for all sorts of reasons – including availability of tee times and securing the best caddies

 

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