Atlantic Coast, Ireland

Curling around Ireland’s west coast from Derry in the north to Cork in the south, the Wild Atlantic Way is high on the list of everyone’s road trip bucket-list, but add in six of the country’s top golf courses and it’s impossible to resist.

The coastline’s otherworldly feel is the result of its age-old battle with the Atlantic resulting in gargantuan rock formations towering over the ocean; karst landscapes; vast swathes of sandy beach; and fortress and castles that could withstand the enemy but not the weather. Around every turn there’s another romantic ruin or chance to hop to another island or islet and the wildlife – from rare seabirds to dolphins – is abundant whichever way you look. You’ll go from fishing towns and villages that still brave the wild waters in search of the freshest seafood – ocean to oven is double quick here – to abandoned ancient settlements and iron age forts that tell a thousand stories. And, of course, the links golf here also is out of this world.

From Old Head, south of Kinsale, where you’re almost playing in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by the Atlantic, on a headline stretching two miles; west to Waterville where you’re teeing off between a stunning lake and the big blue; then to Arnold Palmer’s first European course Tralee; Ireland’s No.1 Ballybunion; future Ryder Cup host Adare Manor; and Lahinch, which has been touched by the golf architect genius of not only Old Tom Morris, but Alister McKenzie too. It’s the perfect triumvirate of iconic courses and an iconic road trip in the most hospitable country in the world.


Where You Stay

Killarney Park Hotel

One of the best hotels in Ireland on the edge of the 25,000-acre Killarney National Park, in the south-west corner of the Wild Atlantic Way. Killarney Park Hotel brings together old school hospitality and traditional Irish charm, with the latest amenities and spa treatments, and the best local produce from the surf and turf served in the restaurant.

Adare Manor

A perfect five-star stay: Limerick’s first Michelin-starred restaurant; a golf course set to host the Ryder Cup (2027); 840 acres of parkland; and a manor house hotel with origins dating back to the 1800s and the former seat of the Earls of Dunraven.

Where You Play

Adare Manor

Robert Trent Jones Snr designed the original course that opened in 1995, and it hosted the Irish Open in 2007 and 2008, among other professional events. The purchase of the manor by JP McManus in 2015 has seen the redevelopment by Tom Fazio and subsequent award of the Ryder Cup for 2027.

Old Head

On a piece of diamond-shaped headland, linked by the thinnest of strips to the mainland, this is where Iron age celts once roamed, and now you must do battle against the weather with the ocean and 40 acres of cliff framing the course. An unforgettable experience, even if your scores are not.

Waterville Golf Links

Set on dune land, Waterville is bordered by both river and ocean, it’s as much an oasis for wildlife as it is Championship-standard golf design. The original nine holes date back to 1880s, but were later reworked and expanded by Eddie Hackett and then Tom Fazio. Stretches from 5,370 to 7,350 yards depending on your tee.


Generally considered the Republic of Ireland’s best course. Tom Watson wrote of the course: ‘After playing Ballybunion for the first time, a man would think that the game of golf originated here’. Probably, enough said.


Arnold Palmer said he’d ‘never come across a piece of land so ideally suited for the building of a golf course’ as he created his first European course at Tralee, which previously had just nine holes, dating back the 1800s.


A links course that was initially laid out by local golfers, then later redesigned by Old Tom Morris, the man behind the Old Course at St Andrews, who described it as ‘the finest natural course he had ever seen’. Later, Alister MacKenzie – of Augusta fame – would redesign it and it’s pedigree remains unquestioned, hosting the Irish Open in 2019.

The Must Do

Seafood on the Wild Atlantic Way is the stuff of legend, home to the plumpest, freshest and tastiest shellfish, famed for its oysters, mussels, and crabs. Seeking a locals favourite such as Out of the Blue at Dingle, where chalkboard menus list the catch of the day, and serve them simply, bringing the natural flavours to the fore.

When To Visit

May to October.

Give us a call! Enquire Online