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With salty breezes blowing across the links and green hills unfurling in the distance, the Emerald Isle is an unforgettable place to tee off. Best of all, Ireland’s top golf resorts cater to seasoned pros and spa-bound revelers alike. Check out these listings for every budget with packages from less than $400 to more than $700.
LESS THAN $400
Resort: Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links
About: The old estate of the Jameson whiskey-making clan, Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links has the feel of a far-flung resort but is close to Dublin.
Accommodations: Portmarnock’s 138 rooms look out over the garden, the course, or the sea. Guests can enjoy an Irish seaweed bath at the spa or toast the estate’s legacy at the Jameson Bar.
The Course: The seaside links, built in 1858 for the Jamesons and redesigned by Masters champ Bernhard Langer in 1995, feature elevated tees and greens amid breezy natural dunes. The blind approaches and doglegs ensure a challenge.
Perks: The hotel is 15 minutes by car from the Dublin airport, and packages include room upgrades, cocktails, and late checkouts.
The Details: A special summer deal of two nights’ accommodations with breakfasts and one dinner costs $292; green fees run $50 a person.
Book It: 353-18-460611; www.portmarnock.com
Alternative: The family-run Glasson Hotel & Golf Club, in County Westmeath, features 65 spacious rooms, locally sourced cuisine, and a formidable woodland course overlooking the River Shannon. It’s a 90-minute drive from Dublin. A summer package of two nights’ accommodations and one dinner costs $146 a person; green fees cost $57. www.glassongolfhotel.ie
MORE THAN $500
Resort: Lodge at Doonbeg Golf Club
About: Despite its baronial facade, the plush Lodge at Doonbeg Golf Club in western County Clare is less than a decade old.
Accommodations: The coastal lodge invites guests to enjoy Irish-inspired treatments at the White Horses Spa, tastings with a whiskey sommelier, and an outing to the Cliffs of Moher.
The Course: The crescent-shaped Greg Norman–designed course hugs 1.5 miles of dune-specked beach and catches plenty of wind. The links are of a naturalistic design; during construction, many of the greens and fairways were simply mowed.
Perks: A new program at the lodge puts guests in touch with a genealogist to help them trace any Irish ancestry.
The Details: The cost for a two-night, midweek stay with standard accommodations and two rounds of golf is $546.
Book It: 866-366-6234; www.doonbeggolfclub.com
Alternative: In County Cavan, the Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel offers 158 airy rooms in a stately 16th-century manor, a championship course by designer Jeff Howes, and a 40,000-square-foot spa. A two-night package with two rounds of golf, breakfasts, and one dinner costs $266 or more a person. www.radissonblu.ie/farnham-estate-hotel
$700 AND UP
Resort: Dromoland Castle & Country Estate
About: The resplendent, many-turreted, 18th-century Dromoland Castle Hotel & Country Estate in County Clare is Gaelic grandeur incarnate.
Accommodations: Along with a spa, the large estate offers facilities for clay shooting, archery, tennis, and falconry. Fine antiques and crystal fill the castle; the best rooms have lake views.
The Course: Redesigned in 2003 by famed Irish amateur JB Carr and architect Ron Kirby, the 18-hole championship course is flanked by a large lake and affords views of the sprawling, wooded grounds and the neo-Gothic castle.
Perks: The estate’s golf academy, also designed by Kirby, includes an extensive driving range and all the latest teaching gadgets.
The Details: A two-night summer package, including breakfasts and one dinner, starts at $500 a person; green fees cost $76.
Book It: 353-61-368144; www.dromoland.ie
Alternative: The Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort, an 1832 château on 840 acres in County Limerick, is home to one of Ireland’s most high-profile golf courses, not to mention the River Maigue, excellent for trout fishing. The Golf and Dine package includes three nights’ accommodations, two dinners, and two rounds of golf for $800 or more a person. www.adaremanor.com
From the Summer 2010 issue of Sherman’s Travel magazine.