The venue for the 2006 Ryder Cup, Kildare's "K Club" includes an Arnold Palmer-designed Championship course, and the course that hosted the American and European teams. Built around a series of lakes in a parkland setting, both courses will test players to the limit. And the on-site hospitality is exceptional, as well. Players can book rounds, while non-players can fish, shoot, kayak, or take advantage of the hotel's upscale spa facility.
Situated in beautiful Bantry Bay, this popular club includes a couple of Championship-level links that look out across the Atlantic. The wind makes them a constant challenge, while pure sandy soil is a joy to play on, and the contours wind and ripple into slopes that can knock even perfect drives into the rough. But any frustrations will be short-lived, especially if you head into Bantry to explore some of Ireland's friendliest traditional pubs.
Moving to the northern county of Donegal, Ballyliffin includes the Old and Glashedy links, both of which offer a tough but incredibly rewarding experience for experienced golfers. The rolling waves and wild dunes provide a fitting backdrop, while pure greens and fiendish bunkers will delight and enrage in equal measure. And with the attractions of the Slieve League Cliffs or Glenveagh National Park not far away, it's not to be missed when organizing golf vacations in Ireland.
Located a short drive from central Dublin on Ireland's east coast, Portmarnock is a fixture on global top 20 course listings, and with good reason. The Bernhard Langer-designed Links Course is the star here, with cleverly raised tee boxes and subtly contoured greens. It's a real test, while the on-site hospitality is up to scratch, with fine food available in the 19th hole.
The host of the 2019 Irish Open, Lahinch is a stunning links course in County Clare, which is challenging the country's ancient courses for top spot these days. Easily accessible from Galway or Limerick, the venue is overlooked by the ruins of Dough Castle, and suits all standards. Just watch out for the goats which call the property home.