Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale, County Cork
Founded 1997. Links Course One of the most spectacular golf courses you will ever encounter, Old Head Golf Links is built on a 220-acre diamond of land, jutting out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The promontory is almost an island with numerous caves running beneath your feet as you play the course. Designed by Ron Kirby, Paddy Merrigan, Liam Higgins, Eddie Hackett and Joe Carr, on one level it is hard to believe that Old Head has made such a global impression since it opened for play in 1997 but playing here for the first time, you will quickly understand why. With a par of 72 that comprises five Par 5’s, five Par 3’s and eight Par 4’s, the layout extends to over 7,200 yards from the tips with a minimum of six tees per hole. Each hole offers stunning views, while nine of the holes play along the cliffs with drops of some 300 feet to the ocean below. With the ever-changing sea breezes, the course provides a stern test for all and if any course warranted play on consecutive days, this is it.
Offering so much superb scenery, interesting attractions and beautiful little towns and villages, it is impossible to find the time to take in everything in this region of Ireland. The main city is Cork and while in the area, visitors should be sure to include the likes of Blarney Casstle, Fota Wildlife Park, Cork City Jail Heritage Centre, Titanic Experience Cobh and Midleton Distillery.
Another location you are likely to find yourself is Kinsale, a beautiful harbour town south of Cork City and convenient for play at the Old Head Golf Links. Known as the gourmet capital of Ireland, Kinsale boasts many superb restaurants but you should also take in a Kinsale Harbour Cruise and visit the stunning Charles Fort just outside town.
Killarney is a particularly popular location for golfers and as a central base from which to play the great courses nearby, Killarney is hard to beat. Whether you have a full free day to take in the sights or a half day before or after golf, there is much to see, including the scenic Dingle Peninsula, Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms, Torc Waterfall, the Gap of Dunloe, Killarney National Park, Ross Castle and Kate Kearney’s Cottage.
A typical golfing itinerary in the Southwest would see you spend at least some time in the Clare area, from where you can play the likes of Lahinch & Doonbeg. Here again, there are many options. If you are travelling with family, a trip to the Aillwee Caves in Ballyvaughan is a great day out, while other locations of interest include the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, the Burren Centre and Craggaunowen Living Past.