Celebrity Travel & StyleInterviewsJet Set PetLuxury VoyagesSuite Dreams - The World's Best SuitesTime TravelerLuxury Travel TrendsWeekend Away
Destination WeddingsFamily Vacation PackagesSpa & Wellness PackagesRomantic & Honeymoon PackagesGirls GetawaysSpring SpecialsSummer Travel Ideas & Specials
ArticlesThe Best Hotels, Resorts & Villas Around the World
Beach & Island Resorts5-Star City HotelsAdventure Lodges & Eco EscapesBoutique City HotelsCountry House HotelsRomantic RetreatsLuxury Guest RanchesLuxury Safari Camps & LodgesGolf Resorts & LodgesSpa Resorts & Wellness RetreatsSki Resorts & LodgesWine Country GetawaysLuxury Family Travel & ResortsNew HotelsHot Hotel Openings
Beach, Coastal & Island VillasCountry VillasGolf VillasSki VillasLuxury Villas & Vacation Rentals Around the WorldHotel Branded Residences
Luxury Cruises & YachtingLuxury Car RentalTravel Tips & AdviceAirline NewsUltimate TripsBusiness TravelFamily TravelLuxury SafarisPrivate Jet TravelRail Journeys: The World's Most Scenic Train Rides
Events
RestaurantsBars & NightclubsAfternoon TeaCoffeeCooking ClassesCulinary TravelWine Travel
Spa & Wellness RetreatsYogaGolf GetawaysTennisSki Vacations
Gift GuideBeach and ResortwearBeauty and FragranceBooksFashionHome StyleLuggage and HandbagsLuxury Autos & Driving ExperiencesMen's StyleTravel EssentialsWatches & JewelryWine and SpiritsWorld's Most Expensive
Back to:  Home > Contributors

Articles by M. James Ward

Golfing in Dublin: The Emerald Isle's Capital

April 9, 2014 - By M. James Ward

Ireland possesses some of the finest courses in the world. One specific area often gets little attention -- Dublin -- the nation's capital.

In the last 15 or so years Dublin has morphed into a city of international stature. With just over half a million in population -- the greater suburban area swells to over 1.8 million. When the Celtic Tiger economic wave was cresting Dublin saw major amounts of investment and renewal.

Ireland has taken a bit of a hit with the shakeout of the Euro but the golf offerings remain a major draw. Many who come to Ireland often fly to Shannon and frankly never see the doings in Dublin now. An error of epic proportions. Don't make that same mistake.

Portmarnock golfPortmarnock Golf Club is arguably the premier championship venue in all of Ireland - scenic, fair and thorough in its demands.

Notable Golf Courses

Portmarnock Golf Club / 27 Holes
Championhip Links 18 = 7,466 yards / Par-72
www.portmarnockgolfclub.ie

Any discussion of top tier Ireland golf courses, especially in the Dublin area, starts with famed Portmarnock Golf Club. No course in the Emerald Isle has staged the full range of top tier events as Portmarnock. Located on a peninsula bracketed by the Irish Sea to the East and the Portmarnock Baldoyle Estuary to the West winds can whip through the property. The clever routing of the championship course takes you to all corners of the property even with only 12 feet of elevation change. Portmarnock eschews the sometimes daffy bounces that can infect other links courses. What you score is what you earn. Fascinatingly, Portmarnock owes its existence to two Scots -- W.S. Pickeman and George Boss, who founded the club in 1894.

Royal Dublin GCRoyal Dublin is often overlooked by many visitors -- the locals know full well the challenges it consistently provides.

Royal Dublin GC
7,269 yards / Par-72
www.theroyaldublingolfclub.com

As Ireland's second oldest course, opened in 1885 -- Royal Dublin provides two distinct nines. The outward half, nearly 500 yards shorter, is where one needs to score low as the inner half provides a rousing and challenging conclusion. Fairways are wide enough but pity any wild player -- staying resolute when the wind blows -- and it can at times blow severely -- is no small task. Royal Dublin was also the home of world renowned player -- Christy O'Connor – the club's professional for nearly 30 years. The ten-time Ryder Cupper is as revered to Irish golf fans as Arnold Palmer is to American ones. Like Portmarnock – Royal Dublin is the handiwork of a Scotsman – John Lumsden.

Portmarnock Hotel and Golf LinksThe 18th hole at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links is an unrelenting par-4 of 446 yards. Pay careful attention or pay the steep price for failure.

Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links
7,047 Yards / Par-71
www.portmarnock.com

Situated on the former Jameson Whiskey family estate the Bernhard Langer and Stan Eby designed course opened in 1995 and weaves through the existing dunes and is challenging without being excessively harsh. Head over to Jameson Bar -- part of the original house dating back to 1847 and have a concluding 19th hole libation. Not as intense as Portmarnock GC but a good bit easier on your wallet too.

The Island Golf ClubThe Island Golf Club is perfectly situated -- just 15 minutes from Dublin Airport with an array of stunning dunes throughout the layout.

The Island Golf Club
6,900 yards / Par-71
www.theislandgolfclub.com

Opened in 1890 -- the strength of The Island GC is the topography. Containing more natural dunes than either Portmarnock or Royal Dublin -- The Island is a rollicking journey -- at times maddening because of severe penalties that await, but, at other times, simply joyous as you feel the majestic qualities of the game coming to life on this splendid links. Known well to locals – its high time overseas visitors shake away the cobwebs of ignorance and enjoy what's provided here.

Kildare golfThe K Club hosted The 2006 Ryder Cup Matches and excels on a range of fronts from service, lodging, cuisine and top tier golf for 36-holes.

The Kildare Hotel, Spa and Country Club
36 holes (Palmer & Smurfit)
www.kclub.ie

Known as The K Club -- this 36-hole facility, designed by Arnold Palmer, hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup Matches. The Palmer Course, site of the first matches on Irish soil, is a demanding par-72 layout that stretches to 7,350 yards. Suffice to say -- play the up markers to maintain one's sanity. The Smurfit Course -- named for co-owner Michael Smurfit -- is no junior league layout. Located on 550 acres -- The K Club provides all the creature comforts for those with the deepest of pockets.

Carton House golfCarton House in a short period of time has quickly garnered much praise for the 36-holes of golf it provides.

Carton House GC
36 holes (O'Meara & Montgomerie)
www.cartonhousegolf.com

One of Ireland's great stately homes the grounds have been transformed into a modern resort with 36-holes of golf at its core. The Mark O' Meara course opened in 2002 followed a year later by the Colin Montgomerie course. Major Irish events have been played on both courses and the Irish Open was played on the Montgomerie course in 2013.

County LouthCounty Louth features two nine-hole loops and wind can wreak havoc as it always shifts throughout the round.

County Louth
7,031 Yards / Par-72
www.countylouthgolfclub.com

Dating back to 1892 -- the current course has been updated a few times -- most recently by Tom Mackenzie. County Louth – called Baltray by locals – doesn't provide continuous views of the sea but the rolling land is blessed with fine dunes and unlike so many other links courses where wayward driving invariably means a lost ball – playability is accomplished here without compromising the overall design.

Dublin bikingDubin is blessed for its varied offerings in the arts arena. Be sure to take in the different locations through the Art Impressions Tour.

Five Must-Do's in Dublin (besides golf) ...

Art Impressions Tour, www.artimpressions.ie

Offers two relaxed and intimate art tours within Dublin city - one a National Gallery of Ireland tour incorporating a 'crash course' in art history and the other a highly informative tour and viewing of the world famous Book of Kells.

Dublin sightsGeorge's Street Arcade is ground zero for a mingling of varied shops and food offerings -- a must see when touring and located in the core center of Dublin.

George's Street Arcade, www.georgesstreetarcade.com

Located in the heart of Dublin city centre. Less than a 5 minute walk from Grafton Street and Temple Bar, in this enclosed Victorian market you enjoy boutique shops and stalls ranging from trendy clothing, jewelry, funky music, souvenirs and much more along with wonderful dining and food options.

Project 51, www.project51.ie

Located on South William Street and opened in summer 2011 – This collaboration brings Irish fashion and design back into the heart of the capital.

Dublin Castle, www.dublincastle.ie

In operation since 1204 AD -- Dublin Castle covers 11 acres and has a range of different tours and activities. A solid option for those wishing to see the Emerald Isle from early times to present day.

Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, www.dublinpubcrawl.com

Provides a two-hour plus tour of no less than 4 pubs in central Dublin. Two actors provide the info in a lively way that's 100% Irish to the core. Fun to the max. Eyeing Ireland from the vantage point of a pub provides an insight like no other.

Dublin sightsWant pure Irish fun? Take the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl -- combines Irish storytelling and drink -- the quintessential dynamic duo.


 

Featured Luxury Hotels

 


 

LUXURY PARTNERS

 

Calala Island - Nicaragua
A luxury resort named one of "The 10 Best Private Islands in the World" is nestled in the undiscovered part of the Caribbean, off the coast of Nicaragua. Come experience barefoot luxury in a pristine paradise!

 

 

 

Carneros Resort and Spa - Napa Valley, California
The resort features 86 charming private guest cottages and suites and nightly private luxury home rentals, each furnished with casual elegance and nestled in a lush garden courtyard with private deck.

 

 

 

BINA - Luxury Yacht Charter 142'
Offering remarkable quantities of luxury for a yacht of her size category, nothing but unadulterated bliss awaits you on board BINA. Sleeps 10-12 in 5 cabins.

 

 

 

Villa Sabai Jai - Koh Tao, Thailand
Three exclusive, boutique pool villas for rent on the small island Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand -- the perfect place for those seeking privacy, luxury and tranquility.

 

 

 

Hotel del Coronado - San Diego
The iconic Hotel del Coronado has been the world's choice for creating inDELible moments and connections for over 128 years.

 

 

 

Eden Roc at Cap Cana - Punta Cana
Offering exclusive luxury in the Dominican Republic, Eden Roc at Cap Cana, the only Relais & Chateaux hotel on the island, features 34 freestanding suites with private pools and stunning views.

 

 

 

The Luxury Signature - The Finest Luxury Villas in Southeast Asia
The Luxury Signature is Southeast Asia's most exclusive collection of luxury villas rental and vacation homes, located in some of the most beautiful destinations including Phuket and Koh Samui in Thailand, and Bali in Indonesia.

 

 

 

Primland - Meadows of Dan, VA
A pristine Blue Ridge Mountain resort offering 12,000 acres of space, sky and shifting moods. Primland is the ultimate getaway for world-class golf, refined dining, and outdoor activities in an environment of rare natural beauty.

 

 

 

Rawai VIP Villas - Phuket, Thailand
A brand new family community and kids' park that epitomizes modern Thai luxury. Each of the 40 villas boasts a private pool in terraced courtyards.

 

 

Meadowood Napa Valley
Owned by vintners and dedicated to showcasing Napa Valley wines, Meadowood is a member of Relais & Chateaux and features a 3 Michelin Star Restaurant!

 

 

Hurtigruten Cruises
Go beyond a traditional cruise line - explore the world in an authentic, unique & natural style. Hurtigruten offers voyages to Antarctica, Norway, Iceland, Greenland & more.

 

 

Carrington Italia - Amalfi Coast
Luxury Villa Accommodations and Personalized Service on Italy's celebrated Amalfi Coast. Experts in providing exclusive travel experiences and local knowledge of the Amalfi Coast.

 

 

Anse Chastanet - St. Lucia
Set amid a lush 600-acre estate with two soft-sand beaches and breathtaking views of St. Lucia's iconic twin Pitons mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Activities range from jungle biking, hiking and bird watching to snorkeling on the reef within swimming distance of the beach.

 

 

Home in Italy: The Most Stunning Villas Imaginable!
The portfolio includes handpicked properties located in the most beautiful regions of Italy; a team of specialists personally selects each villa and only the finest properties become part of the exclusive Home in Italy collection.

 

 

AutoEurope - Luxury Car Rental
Rent the car of your dreams and treat yourself to the best in style, comfort and automotive engineering on your next getaway.

 

 

Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Set across from the Royal Palace, Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor is one of the landmark historic hotels of the legendary Grand Tour of Indochina. The hotel first opened its doors in 1932 but the legend lives on today after careful restoration.

 

 

Hotel Valley Ho - Scottsdale, Arizona
A hideaway for celebrities, this Downtown Scottsdale resort features generously sized guest rooms with all-glass walls opening onto airy patios or balconies, many with views of Camelback Mountain.

 

 

Argentario Golf Resort & Spa - Tuscany, Italy
The Design Golf Resort - named 'Best Luxury Hotel in Italy' by Overseas Living Magazine - offers 73 design rooms, one luxurious villa for rent and a number of sophisticated homes for sale.