There are fewer than 250 traditional links courses in the entire world. Most of them are in the British isles. The best of them are in Ireland.
And along the east coast around the capital, Dublin, you’ll find some of the finest fairways among the dunes you could ever hope to play.
Our East Coast Tour takes you through a challenging circuit of the historic and contemporary links that put even champions to the test.
There’s time to relax, too, and nowhere’s better than Dublin. The Irish capital is the beating heart of both, Ireland and the wider Irish community worldwide.
Visit (or come home to) a vibrant, friendly cultural capital that’s famous for its live music, melodic accent, and steady stream of stout.
No wonder the Vikings settled here twice (although over a thousand years ago).
Your home in County Dublin will be either the five-star Fitzwilliam Hotel on St. Stephen’s Green in the city center – just a short walk from bustling Grafton Street – or the elegant Grand Hotel at Malahide, a peaceful seaside town north of the city.
The former gives you the ideal base from which to explore one of Europe’s most walkable capitals, (and the continent’s new coffee capital), take in the abundance of culture, and sample some memorable fine dining.
The latter takes you into the heart of golf country, overlooking the Irish Sea and the majestic Mourne Mountains. It’s a slice of authentic Ireland just a short drive from the modern, cosmopolitan version.
But the best memories are made out on the golf course, and these links are impossible to forget.
Portmarnock Golf Club
Rated one of the Top 5 courses in Ireland, stately Portmarnock has hosted the Irish Open 19 times since 1894. Back then, this sandy peninsula stretching for two miles along the bay belonged to the world-famous Jameson’s distillery.
Today, it’s the spirit of championship golf that lingers. It might be the quintessential Irish links experience, with light-touch course design that leaves the obstacles to nature.
Your long game is at the mercy of the sea breeze, your short game up against lightning fast greens.
No wonder the final five holes have been called one of the greatest – and most brutal – finishes in golf.
Seapoint Golf Links
The newest course on our tour, Seapoint is owned by Carr Golf and opened in the 1990s, with a well-received re-design in 2020.
Enjoy a gentle start in parkland with the occasional water hazard, before the serious business begins with some long par fours among some fearsome rough.
The highlight is an idyllic closing stretch along the seafront at Termonfeckin Beach with great views of the mountains as a backdrop.
Dubbed “the best course in Ireland you’ve never heard of,” The Island nevertheless dates back to 1890 and ranks among the Top 10 courses in Ireland for those who know.
The Island on the island of Ireland is a top championship course that regularly hosts qualifying and amateur competitions. You’re welcome to take a shot at troubling Darren Clarke’s course record of 63, but the shaggy, towering dunes and elusive greens lend themselves to a more modest outcome.
Whatever your fortunes on this wild, natural course, it’s a magical round to enjoy just across the estuary from Malahide.
The Royal Dublin Golf Club
The Dublin Golf Club settled on Bull Island in Dublin Bay in 1889, receiving its royal patronage from Queen Victoria soon after. It’s certainly County Dublin golf’s crowning glory.
The traditional Scottish-style ‘out and back’ links draws worldwide golfers from afar for a round, as well as birdwatchers and nature-lovers for the UNESCO biosphere reserve it sits on.
The Royal Dublin has hosted many Irish Opens and has a strong association in modern times with a local golfing legend, the late Christy O’Connor.
Come for the long, straight fairways, the impeccable greens, or the famously friendly welcome that is typically Dublin.
The European Club
Founded in 1987 but already among the World’s Top 100 courses, The European Club is on Brittas Bay just south of Dublin.
Legendary Irish course architect Pat Ruddy picked this location for his dream course from a helicopter, but he could have put a pin in a map with his eyes close. This is County Wicklow, after all, the so-called ‘Garden of Ireland’.
Curiously, the course design incorporates two hidden par threes among the dunes, allowing you to play a round of 20 holes if you wish. Save your best for the par-4 seventh hole, ranked among the World’s 100 Best Holes.
The bunkers lined with railway sleepers are a reminder that you’re in the historic home of classic links golf. See if you can challenge Tiger Woods’ course record…
Irish Golf Tours has been bringing golfers home to Ireland’s courses and the wild beauty of its landscapes for over 30 years.
If you want to secure some once-in-a-lifetime golf for 2024, get in touch with us today to book your tour.