The recent Ryder Cup game on Irish soil for the first time, has set Ireland’s stamp as a world-class golf venue.

In fact, Ireland has some 300 golf courses, of all kinds, throughout this beautiful country. And, befitting the “Emerald Isle” nickname, the greens are as green as you could wish for.

Arrive in Ireland by flying into Dublin Airport, and even before landing, you can revel in the Bernhard Langer-designed Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links. The Irish capital, Dublin, is practically surrounded by golf courses, and the Ryder Club’s headquarters, the K Club, is just a half-hour drive from the airport.

The K Club was previously a luxurious private residence, Staffran House, and packaging millionaire Michael Smurfit has made it one of Ireland’s premier golf venues. Nestled in the unspoiled countryside of County Kildare, the K Club now features 69 bedrooms in the main house, each with its own hand-painted en-suite bathroom. If you want the best of the good life, the Imperial Suite has two bedrooms and a sauna. It also has a kitchen, complete with its own chef to satisfy all your epicurean whims.

Alternatively, you can try the Viceroy Suite with its four-poster bed and Jacuzzi.

Then if you can get away from the pampering, you can try this world-class course, recently put to the test by the best players in the world.

Of the other 299 odd courses in Ireland, you will have many options to choose from in this golfer’s paradise.

Far to the northwest in rugged and beautiful County Donegal is the North West Golf Course in Fahan, located on the shores of Lough Swilly. As a tribute to the original birthplace of golf, it is known as “Saint Andrew of Ireland”.

The far west of Ireland has some wonderful courses, including Tralee, which was designed by Arnold Palmer and is the westernmost course in Europe.

Another field in that area is Waterville, where Tiger Woods is known to practice in preparation for the Open. It’s no wonder when some golfers consider Waterville to be among the best courses in the world.

No summary of Irish golf courses would be complete without a mention of the Royal County Down course, nestled among the Morne Mountains with spectacular views of Dundrum Bay.

Finally, there is the world famous Old Course at Ballybunion. While it does not match the length of the more modern links, it is still one of the best golf courses in Ireland.

Copyright 2006 Joseph Donegal and

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