Dublin: Guinness and some of the best links in Ireland

A photograph of Royal Dublin Golf Club
Sunset over Royal Dublin Golf Club. Photography by Niall Bermingham

On a visit to Dublin the stereotypes are rich and familiar: Guinness, music, conversation – the craic.

Golf would not, at first glance, make the cut here. But it should. It must. Not only are many of the best golf courses near Dublin only a short drive from the city but they are all wonderful.

If Scotland is and will always remain the home of golf, then Ireland is the luxurious holiday home you never want to leave. And while the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way provides some incredible experiences in the shape of Old Head and Ballybunion, and the north of the island can boast Royal Portrush and Enniscrone.

The Dublin coast is truly stunning; jam-packed with one heavyweight layout after another. It is, quite frankly, unmissable. And not only because of the extraordinary quality of the courses, but the ease with which you can travel in and out of the city and the array of fabulous restaurants and hotels on offer.

A photo of The Temple Bar area of Dublin
The Temple Bar area of Dublin is the focus of much of the nightlife

Dublin is not showy or picture postcard pretty, but it’s intoxicating blend of hedonism and heritage makes it an absolute smash hit for a city break. It has personality and punch, there is history and happiness and above all, there is huge warmth everywhere you go.

The beauty of Trinity College is beguiling. It carries real gravitas too, having been the place where Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde studied. The library must be one of the world’s most beautiful.

The Guinness Storehouse is a staple for the vast majority of tourists. The old factory site, which is located in St James’s Gate, houses a museum which tells the story of Ireland’s most famous export and even allows you to sample the produce at the top-floor bar. It just takes better in Dublin.

There is world-class cultural experiences to be had at Dublin City Gallery and the National Museum of Ireland, while the food and drink scene is, of course, one of the major selling points of Dublin. Modern Irish food is as creative and vibrant as you would expect with eateries such as The Pig’s Ear, Richmond and Forrest & Marcy setting the tone.

A photograph of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland
The Guinness Storehouse is one of Dublin’s most visited attractions. Credit: Louis Hansel

And if you are stuck for something to do, which you won’t be, spend a few hours in one of the city’s 700 or so pubs and soak up the atmosphere. The pub is where Dubliners come to relax, to sing and to laugh. It is a wonderful way to tap into the soul of this wonderful place.

What of the golf? Well, some of the best golf courses near Dublin include Portmarnock, Royal Dublin, The Island and Portmarnock Links – between them they have between them everything a golfer could wish for. History, tradition, and links layouts that are both fair and demanding in equal measure. And each of them come not only with a wonderful test of golf but also with the very warmest of welcomes.

It’s generosity of spirit, it’s kindness and charm. And to be able to combine the warmth, wonder and culture of a vibrant European city. Many of the best golf courses near Dublin are stunning links layouts and that is not something you can say about too many cities around the world. So you have to ask yourself why wouldn’t you go?

Portmarnock Golf Club


THE BEST LINKS COURSES NEAR DUBLIN

  1. Portmarnock Golf Club (Championship)
    A truly iconic name with a course to match. Portmarnock is the grandaddy of links layouts on this coastline. The greats of the game have all graced the hallowed greens and fairways of this majestic golf course and they speak with a unanimous voice, when they deliver their verdict: outstanding.Fast, firm and, above all, fair – this is a course that, on the one hand, is beautifully presented but, on the other, will demand every shot you have (and many you don’t) as you reach into the bag for every one of those 14 golf clubs.

  2. Portmarnock Links
    Often confused with its more celebrated neighbour, Portmarnock Links is the relative new kid on the block, having been opened in 1996. And yet with the careful and quiet genius of Bernard Langer having designed the layout, this is a golf course and resort that belies its age and one which weaves its way through dramatic dunes and the Irish Sea to deliver a genuinely authentic links experience. The land is the ancestral home of the famous Jameson whiskey family.

  3. Royal Dublin Golf Club
    Closest to the city itself, Royal Dublin is a truly tremendous links course and a real test of your game. Founded in 1885 by Sir John Lumsden, the club is steeped in golfing history and is widely accepted as one of the greatest links courses in Ireland. The course is a traditional out-and-back design created in 1920 by Harry Colt. In the early 2000’s Martin Hawtree made significant changes which have preserved the magnificent character of the course but ensured it remains as challenging for the modern golfer as it ever was. For more details and for green fees and visitor info, click here.

  4. The Island
    Completing this astonishing quarter of incredible golf courses, is The Island. Surrounded by the ocean on three sides, this is another classic links course that cuts its way through the highest sand dunes on the coast. Many people in this part of the world, call it ‘the best golf course in Ireland that you have never heard of.’ The range of flora and fauna is spectacular. Your golf better be every bit as good. For more info click here.


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Ben is the founder of The Wandering Golfers. He grew up on the links of Ayrshire in Scotland learning the game from his beloved Grandpa. He spent more than a decade covering Ryder Cups and the Majors for The Times and BBC Sport before starting his own businesses.

3 Comments

  1. The pictures look incredible. A trip I have been meaning to book for years. This may just have tipped me over the edge.

  2. Loved this!! I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest in a golf trip to Dublin.

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