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Northern Ireland Destination Guide

Why we love it...

 

With two of the world’s premier links, a strong supporting cast and an outrageously talented young man named Rory, it’s little wonder that golf in Northern Ireland has finally started to get the attention it deserves. Fly into Belfast, hire a car and this golfing world is your oyster, with so many great courses within easy reach of one another.

Where to play...

 

The Big Three: Royal Portrush – Royal County Down - Portstewart 

 

Head south from Belfast and discover Royal County Down, an Old Tom masterpiece that in 2016 was named the World’s No.1 course by no less a judge than Golf Digest magazine, beating off the likes of Augusta, Pine Valley and Cypress Point. Set against a glorious backdrop, this really is dream golf. Just as it is at the brutal yet beguiling Royal Portrush – some two hours north - where Harry Colt created his defining links and the Open will be held in 2019 after a 50 year absence. Add in Portstewart – boasting arguably the finest front nine in Ireland – and you’ve got a real triumvirate.

Royal Portrush

Royal County Down

Portstewart

Other Great Courses: Royal Belfast – Ardglass - Holywood

 

Proving that there is life beyond the Hollywood courses of the World Top 10, there are a number of cracking layouts that are superb in their own right. Ardglass, just a short drive from Royal County Down, should be on any Northern Ireland golf itinerary. A clifftop links with spectacular coastal holes and welcoming gothic clubhouse, it’s a joy to play. The same could be said of Royal Belfast, albeit for different reasons. This serene parkland is the oldest members club in Ireland and is regarded as the birthplace of the game on the Emerald Isle. For a golfing ‘A-lister’ experience the real Hollywood experience, head to Holywood, Rory McIlroy’s home course.

ArdglassRoyal Belfast

Holywood

 Where to stay...

 

Located 30 miles south of Belfast, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa is a fantastic venue to accomodate your stay in Northern Ireland. Boasting 178 luxury rooms in 6 acres of stunning private ground, with facilities such as; vitality pools, an infinity pool, 16 treatment rooms and a full gym on-site, Slieve Donard is bound to make your stay something special. This golf resort offers a fantastic opportunity to experience a variety of golfing challenges at golf clubs which include, Royal County Down Golf Club and Ardglass Golf Club.

The Portrush Atlantic Hotel is a great value choice when looking for somewhere to stay on your tour. Situated right on the seafront overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this hotel offers comfortable accomodation with traditionally styled guestrooms. The cafe and restaurant on-site provide fantastic dining options plus, the hotel is ideally located to take advantage of some superb golf courses in the area such as, Royal Portrush and Portstewart.

 Where to eat and drink...

 

Best for… Whiskey

Bushmills, Portrush: Distilling since 1608, the good people at Bushmills know a thing or two about producing great whiskey. Conveniently located just a few miles from Portrush, you can tour the distillery, learn about the process and, of course, sample their famous wares.

Best for… Guinness & Oysters

Crown Liquor Saloon, Great Victoria St, Belfast: An absolute gem of a pub owned by the National Trust. Famed for its unique character, mahogany booths and gas lamps, this is the place to go for a pint of the black stuff and half-a-dozen Strangford oysters.

Best for… Steak

Porterhouse, Lisburn Rad, Belfast: A steak restaurant owned by a butcher… what’s not to like? Sirloin, fillet or the signature Porterhouse you can’t go wrong at this Belfast establishment.

Best for… Live Music

Mackens Bar, South Promenade, Newcastle: If you’re staying at the fabulous Slieve Donard and fancy an evening of music and fun be sure to head to Mackens. From jamming sessions and open mic nights to traditional Irish music and live acts, this cosy pub is a great find.