Top 5 Hidden Gems In South West Ireland
We share 5 of south-west Ireland's most amazing hidden gems. These courses are a must-play on a golf break to the emerald isle!
At almost the farthest point on the Dingle Peninsula, Ceann Sibeal is one of Ireland’s most isolated golf courses… and one of its most beautiful, too. The Three Sisters watch over the course, their clifftop peaks rising above the links, and the views are endless in every direction.
The hillside that falls away from these cliffs is home to a subtle, low and deceptive links, designed by Eddie Hackett (the back nine) and Christy O’Connor Jr (the front). Ceann Sibeal demands your total attention as not only is the rough unforgiving but a burn slips across 11 holes and is, in a word, treacherous. It is also magnetic and while the course is not especially long, the routing ensures that the wind will hit you from every angle. You’ll need meticulous course management to play this crafty links.
Skellig Bay is under new (American) ownership and no details are yet available as to what is planned for this seaside/headland course… except that it will be renamed. Old stone walls and cairns give the plush wide fairways tremendous character as well as a unique aura. The walls stretch for miles across this headland, high above the sea and overlooking the village of Waterville.
The fairways are generous, even hypnotic, especially with such vistas scattered all around. That comes from Ron Kirby, the designer at Old Head of Kinsale. Change is in the air but whatever the redevelopment, Skellig Bay is a perfect foil for the brilliant links at Waterville, on the other side of the village.
Bantry Bay may be off the beaten path as golfers head from Co. Kerry to Old Head of Kinsale, but for those who want to drive the Wild Atlantic Way and hug the coastline, the pretty fishing village of Bantry will appear along the route, 50 miles west of Kinsale. The course is perched on a high rolling landscape above the sea and the village. The setting is glorious, with views spilling across the bay to mountains and peninsulas.
The course is a strong test, using the big rolls of the landscape to full effect. This may be parkland but there are blind shots to be tackled. That said, this is a course to take out the driver and swing hard, watching the ball soar against stunning backdrops.
The greens are in keeping with the rest of the course: big and sloping, so expect to be tested all day long.
So when you come to contemplating a trip to South West Ireland, which every golfer must do at least once in their lifetime, remember to look beyond the big names and instead pull out a few of these lesser-known gems. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Please request a quote if you are interested in playing any of these courses as part of your vacation with the golf travel experts at Golfbreaks.com.