Our golfing tour of Ireland with Ian Cross begins on the dramatic west coast where in County Kerry we visit the spectacular Tralee Golf Club.
Like most traditional links golf courses, it is situated on the coast and the 16th and 17th holes face the beautiful beach where David Lean filmed the iconic beach scenes of his Hollywood epic, Ryan’s Daughter.
Tralee has been re designed by golfing legend Arnold Palmer and its back nine, including the signature Ryan’s Daughter holes, are some of the most picturesque in all Ireland.
The West coast is home to several world class links golf courses including Ballybunion, Lahinch and Waterville and we visit all three before travelling north to Donegal and the country’s northern most course, Ballyliffin.
Here the bunkers on the Old course have most recently been re designed by Sir Nick Faldo.
Crossing the border into Northern Ireland, Ian visits Royal Portrush, venue for the 2019 British Open. Designed by Harry Colt this dramatic course is situated on the picturesque Antrim Coast road and close to the unique coastal geological rock formations at Giants Causeway, one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions.
Next Ian visits Londonderry, one of the oldest walled cities in Europe. Its fortress walls provide a grim reminder to the political divisions and conflicts that have divided the island of Ireland for several centuries.
Ian then travels to the south where he stops off at Drogheda where in 1649 Oliver Cromwell crushed Catholic opposition to the Protestant invasion of Ireland. The slaughter of civilians here would set the tone for centuries of conflict and resentment between Protestants and Catholics that would eventually envelope the North of Ireland and divide the country.
Ian’s final golf course on his Irish Tour is The Island, appropriately named because for almost 100 years until 1973, golfers had to get here by boat.
The course is situated on an isolated peninsular near Portmarnock, just north of Dublin.
Portmarnock itself also offers two golf courses including the old course attached to the luxurious Portmarnock Hotel and Links.
This five star hotel is located in the old home of the Irish whisky distillery family, the Jamesons, who built one of the world’s first private golf courses here 150 years ago.
Frequented by English king, Edward V11, at the turn of the 20th century, several “lost holes” on the course was brought back to life in by Bernhard Langer in a recent re design.