5 Great Golf Villages in Ireland
Portrush — Less than a 20-minute drive from Bushmills, Portrush is known for its sandy beaches and the Royal Portrush Golf Club, an Open Championship venue. The old town village of Portrush, built on a mile-long peninsula, encompasses hotels and B&B’s, restaurants and pubs. Popular activities in Portrush include shopping at the White House Department Store, enjoying Barry Amusements Park and visiting Dunluce Castle. The historic Royal Portrush Golf Club, which has 36 holes of golf, will host the Open Championship again in 2019.
Bushmills — Home to the Old Bushmills Distillery, where they’ve been making whiskey for more than four centuries, the town of 2,000 residents has walkable streets with historical buildings, shops, pubs and restaurants. If you love whiskey, the Old Bushmills Distillery, the oldest licensed distillery in the world, is a fun and interesting attraction with its tours and tastings. The most popular place for Americans to stay is the 41-room Bushmills Inn, a beautiful, luxury, 4-star hotel. For hikers, there is a 7-mile scenic walk to Portrush that passes the Dunluce Castle. When it’s time to tee up, the world-renowned Royal Portrush Golf Club is only five miles away and there’s a great selection of courses within 15 miles of the village, including Castlerock, Portstewart, Ballycastle and Gracehill.
Killarney — When most Americans think of the quintessential Irish village, it’s Killarney in County Kerry in the southwest part of the country that often comes to mind. Developed in the mid-1700s, the village of 14,000 residents is a wonderland of historic buildings with charming architecture and narrow lanes with shops and restaurants. City council members have preserved its natural look by banning gaudy shop signs and instituting other rules to protect its heritage. You’ll see old, classic signage, window boxes with flowers and stained-glass doors at the many family-owned shops. Located a two hour drive from Shannon International Airport, Killarney has golf offerings such as the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, Ross Golf Club and Castlerosse Golf Club.
Kinsale – If you play the celebrated Old Head Golf Links course, you’ll become very familiar with this historic port and fishing town in County Cork. Stunningly picturesque, Kinsale is nestled between hills and a shoreline with a maze of narrow streets and a wealth of historic sights. Two 17th-century fortresses overlook the River Brandon and the magnificent 16th-century courthouse houses the Kinsale Regional Museum. The bustling town has seemingly more bars, restaurants and cafes per square mile than Dublin.
Belmullet – Set on the Wild Atlantic way in County Mayo, Belmullet is the village closest to Carne Golf Links, the wonderfully designed and natural Eddie Hackett layout. A town of 1,000 people, Belmullet is a classic example of what small-town Ireland used to look like. There are no mega-supermarkets or shopping centers as Belmullet’s streets are lines with family-owned shops and pubs. Two of its most popular pubs are McDonnells and Clann Lir.