Best golf courses in Dublin
A fantastic destination for a golf break, Dulin is packed with culture and plenty of golf courses! Check out which courses we would recommend playing on your next break.
Ireland is blessed with some truly phenomenal golf courses. Nowhere more so than the country’s dynamic capital, which is home to an array of great links and parkland layouts. Add in the abundance of historical sights and world-famous nightlife, and you are left with an irresistible destination for a golf break.
Set amid tumultuous dunes, the Island bears little resemblance to the other links courses in the region. Steeped in tradition, this magical links could only be reached by boat across the Malahide estuary until the 1970s. A road has since been built at the far end of the peninsula, and the foundations of the original clubhouse now form part of the 14th tee. Surrounded by the sea on three sides the venue feels as remote as you could possibly find. Luckily despite the tranquil location, Dublin Airport is simply 15 minutes away.
This is Ireland’s big, glamorous parkland course and the home of the 2006 Ryder Cup. There are lakes, rivers, ancient trees and lots and lots of space. The Palmer course carries quite the reputation (designed by Arnold Palmer) and it delivers all the frills and thrills you’d expect.
The River Liffey flows lazily along one edge, threatening three holes, but despite this and the other water features, the Palmer is a relaxing round of golf with generous fairways and big greens. It is a course playable by every golfer but be sure to choose the right tees, as it can be long.
It's an exceptional resort, with a clubhouse and facilities to match, and a worthy second course, The Smurfit, that sits alongside its more famous sibling.
Founded in 1894, Portmarnock is revered the world over as a phenomenal links course. Located on its own sandy peninsula, 12 miles from downtown Dublin, there is nothing man-made about this formidable test. Sweeping its way around the narrow duneland, the course has welcomed numerous distinguished players over the years, including Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead who would successfully negotiate the championship links on their way to victory in the 1960 Canada Cup.
Lightning fast and true, the links is perhaps best known for its sensational green complexes, which are subtle and notoriously hard to hold.
When it comes to beauty, variety and sheer colour no Irish parkland can come close to the spectacular offering at Druids Glen. The club is blessed with the finest collection of par-3’s in the country. Laced with water and bedecked with a kaleidoscope of colours, it’s little surprise that the formidable stretch from the 12th to the 14th has been coined ‘Ireland’s Amen Corner’. Located in County Wicklow, to the south of Dublin, the Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock creation is one of the country’s finest layouts and a must-play on a visit to Ireland’s vibrant capital.
This beguiling Pat Ruddy creation is widely considered to be the best modern links course in the world. The world-class designer is not only the mastermind behind The European Club but also the venue's owner and magnanimous host. His work at the course, some 30 miles south of Dublin, is nothing less than extraordinary and despite only opening in 1993 the layout already ranks among the very finest layouts in Ireland. There are actually 20-holes set amid the rugged dunes, and the two additional par-3’s (7a & 12a) are worth sticking around to play.
There are two courses at the five star Carton House resort, 15 miles west of Dublin. The Montgomerie course opened in 2002 and was designed as an inland links. It certainly possesses links features with tumbling and deceptive fairways, deep bunkers and glorious greens. And a few trees.
This is one of Ireland’s toughest courses, especially when the golden rough is up… which also happens to be when the course looks its best, as it did when the Irish Open was hosted here.
Choose the right tee and try not to be heroic: the gentle doglegs can be deceptive and the bunkering is always punishing.
Killeen Castle flows over 600 acres of idyllic parkland, wrapped around a 12th-century castle. Today it is home to a Jack Nicklaus ‘Signature’ course, which hosted the Solheim Cup in 2011.
This is Ireland’s longest course (7,677 yards, back tees) but there are five tees to choose from and the fairways are always generous. It is approaching the heavily bunkered, shapely green complexes where the biggest challenges lie.
There is plenty of water and the majestic trees have been well employed, but Killeen Castle’s spaciousness is what impresses most… if you don’t count the castle which appears frequently and looms above the 18th green. There is also a Dave Pelz Golf School for those looking to improve their game.
This historic club is situated on Bull Island, a three-mile-long sand split and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located just off the city shoreline. Founded in 1889, the course was granted its royal patronage by Queen Victoria shortly after. There are no dunes here, instead, the course makes the most of the natural twists and turns of the land. Given the flat nature of the links, the elements are almost a constant factor here, and with the prevailing wind in your face from the turn, you’re well advised to get your score in early.
Designed in conjunction with Stan Eby, the Bernhard Langer designed links opened for play in 1996. Despite being a modern course Portmarnock is a classic links course in every sense of the word. It is perhaps little surprise given that it borders the classic links gem at Portmarnock, the two courses are owned and managed separately, that the layout is out of the very top drawer and guests are guaranteed a warm welcome and immaculately maintained layout.
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