Originally Posted by shortstop20
So I'm going to Ireland in May....I've been there once before in August of 2008, but I wasn't as big into golf then so I only played 9 holes while I was there.
This time I'm looking to play alot more. Lahinch and Ballybunion are for sure on my list. I'm looking to add one or two more. We will be there for 8 days but I'm the only golfer in the group so getting in more than 3-4 rounds is going to be hard and inconvenient for the others.
My two other top prospects are Portmarnock and Old Head. These four courses also fit in well with our plan of travel as we will be flying into Dublin, then heading towards the Ring of Kerry, then up the west coast to Limerick, Cliffs of Moher and Galway, finally making our way back east to Dublin for our departure.
As with anything sometimes there's cheaper courses that are actually better, etc. so I'm curious as to what natives of Ireland and those who have visited would give for advice on courses to play. The courses need to be in the general vicinity of the route that I have laid out. It is highly unlikely that we will make it up to the northern part of Ireland or Northern Ireland itself.
Just spotted this thread now, I'm from Ireland and hope I can be of assistance.
First off, I'd advise you to set up a thread about your on this Irish golf forum if you are looking for a playing partner.
I'm sure you'll get a few people that would happily play a round with you on your visit or else they can/will offer up more advice on the trip in general than I can.
If you're playing with a local you might not have to pay the tourist rates of $200 that only you Americans pay
My friend is a member of Ballybunion, he pays €400 per year as his membership!!!! (€7,000 once off entry fee, and there's a waiting list that stretches years)
We pay €50 green fee when we're with him, and I played it on Dec 26th and they told us to keep our money in our pocket...Ballybunion for free...
Anyway I digress.
If you have a detailed itinerary of your travel plans then I would gladly help map of a good route for you in terms of golf.
You seem to have decided on Lahinch and Ballybunion, you won't be disappointed with those courses.
Most of the other courses you have mentioned are great links too.
You mention that Portmarnock isn't all it's hyped up to be, I haven't played it but anyone that I know who has played it was left a little bit disappointed by it.
It always seems to get voted in in the Top 5 Links courses in Ireland but that leaves quite a few people scratching their heads.
Many of them would prefer to play a the Portmarnock Hotel and Links course that is just minutes away from it and far cheaper.
It has held the Irish Ladies Open many times before so it is still a top course, you'll pay €30 on a Tuesday or Thursday at the moment.
There is a 3D virtual tour guide in the "Helpful Information" tab.
Another alternative in the Dublin area is The European Course, it's a family owned course and they do very little in the way of marketing thus it is generally missed by a lot of tourists.
The website doesn't do it justice http://www.theeuropeanclub.com/
Most people I know would rate it as the best links on the East coast of Ireland.
If budget is an concern, there is a brilliant public links on the same stretch of land as the Portmarnock courses called Corballis (you wont see it on any Top 100 rankings but for €15-20 per round, it is unbelievable value)
I'd be happy to get a round in with you on any of the 3 courses above (Dublin area) and could bring a friend along to make it a 3 ball.
Ballybunion and Lahinch are 2 for you to play.
Waterville, Doonbeg are great courses, but I would play Tralee (Barrow) Golf Club...there are all so good, it really is a coin flip.
Tralee was designed by Arnold Palmer, he is famously quoted as saying “I may have designed the first nine, but surely God designed the back nine”
Here's another course guide for you :) http://traleegolfclub.com/index.php/course/hole-by-hole/13th_brocks_hollow/
I'm beginning to get a bit tired now :) and I am dying for a game of golf too.
You may be golfed out of it by the time you get to Galway, but when in Galway you will be "close" to Carne Golf Club.
Close being a 2 hour drive....It's in an extremely remote area of the country.
Due to it's location, it isn't played or talked about as much as the more famous Links.
Saying that, it still ranks in the Top 10, many believe that if I wasn't as isolated that it would challenge for the top spot.
Here's a flyover for the course, they have recently added another 9 holes which have only improved the course.
Kevin Markham is a regular poster on the forum I mentioned at the start, he is a golf journalist and has also started to do some golf photography.
Check out his flickr account for plenty of photos of the courses, and lots more He has played every course in Ireland.
Here is his account http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmarkham/sets/
I'd be glad to help out further if I can,