Dublin is the perfect suggestion for a convenient and affordable three- or four-day golfing break. Here are six courses that are all within an easy half-hour drive of Dublin Airport.
This extraordinary course was the host venue for the women’s 2011 Solheim Cup – just three years after it opened. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, it rambles through 350 acres of beautiful natural woodlands, part of a 650-acre estate that for centuries was the seat of the high kings. Into view on many holes comes a castle – not the one that that was first here in 1180 but a striking restoration of a 19th century structure. Everything on this golf course is in perfect condition and the clubhouse facilities are superb too. Stay over in the four-star Ballinger House hotel. Green fee: from €40.
Bordered by sea on three sides and situated in the estuaries of Donabate and Malahide, this magnificent course is one of Ireland’s finest. So-named because it was once on an island, there is nothing artificial about this no-frills and naturally breathtaking course. It wends through imposing sand dunes – which in summer come alive with colourful wildflowers – and features all the unpredictable bumps, runs and tricky green contours you would expect of a top-class links layout. The daunting par-4 14th is said to have the narrowest fairway in Europe – it measures just 17 yards wide. After your round, have a Guinness and a bowl of seafood-packed chowder soup in the clubhouse. Green fee: €200pp.
Roganstown Hotel and Country Club
Tucked away on a quiet country road in North County Dublin this course and hotel is 10 minutes from Dublin airport – which makes it perfect for a morning or afternoon round before a quick dash to the airport for your flight home. There are two courses here, with the championship golf course’s enjoyable and varied collection of holes tackled while enjoying the most picturesque of backdrops. The hotel offers various stay and golf packages. Guests can also take advantage of the property’s excellent bars and restaurants, and a leisure centre includes a spa salon, an 18-metre swimming pool, steam room, sauna and full gym. Green fee: €40.
St. Margaret’s Golf and Country Club
This beautiful parkland course is one of the most under-the-radar courses in Ireland. A former host venue to the Ladies Irish Open, the Seniors Irish Open, and the Irish PGA Championship, this immaculately manicured course has huge greens and several water features – including the 18th, one of the best closing holes in Irish golf. The collection of short (par-3) holes are all picture-perfect. After the golf, relax in the recently refurbished clubhouse and enjoy a sandwich or fish and chips in the new Lír Restaurant. Green fee: great value at €40.
This Fairmont-managed hotel in Kildare is one of Ireland’s premier luxury resorts. The grand and timeless Manor House, which was home to some of the country’s leading aristocrats, is set on over 1,000 acres of parkland. It has two excellent golf courses: The O’Meara, which meanders through woodland and skirts the River Rye, and The Montgomerie, which provides a tougher challenge. The course has been a three-times-host of the Irish Open. There is a full-service spa, an indoor swimming pool, cycling trails and the Morrison Room, which offers a seven-course tasting experience. Green fees from €40.
Corballis Links GC
Also on the picturesque east coast and close to The Island, this quirky par 66 is another gem in Ireland’s fabulous links collection. Several of the testing holes are tucked up against the North Dublin coastline, offering memorable ocean views. There are many ‘risk and reward’ shots which, if even a little miscued, will almost certainly result in a lost ball. Most greens are protected by deep pot bunkers and there is also water and out of bounds posts to contend with. Highlights include the par-4 14th, played tee to green alongside the beach. Green fee: a bargain at €30.