Golfing in Ireland's Southwest Chauffeur Drive Tour 8 Days

Golfing in Ireland's Southwest Chauffeur Drive Tour 8 Days

7 Night Tour From $4,165 pps

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This tour starts and ends in Shannon airport but can be customised to include Dublin airport as an arrival/departure point.

Destinations / Itinerary

Days 1 - 4: Arrival in Shannon, the Clare and Kerry regions

Your journey through Ireland’s Southwest begins at Shannon Airport. You will no doubt be eager to get stuck in and sample all the fine golf courses that this region has to offer. From Tralee Golf Course to Adare Manor, there’s plenty to look forward to, but if you fancy a bit of sight-seeing along the way, you won’t be disappointed either.

From Shannon Airport, once you've met up with your private driver/guide for the week, you’re in the perfect place to explore the rugged beauty of the Burren Region.This truly unique area of limestone rock covers mountains, valleys and streams, each as awe-inspiring as the last. There is a beautiful contrast between the natural flora and fauna and the ancient man made megalithic tombs, which predate the Roman and even Egyptian civilizations. Before you trek out into the unknown, you can visit the Burren Visitors Centre in nearby Kilfenora, where you’ll get an introduction to the many secrets of the Burren.

The Burren Smokehouse is just a ten minute drive down the road from Kilfenora so drop in and sample some of their acclaimed smoked salmon, see the original kiln used at the smokehouse and browse their range of products, which include various crafts and delicacies from the Clare region.

From the Burren to the Cliffs of Moher your trip today is packed full of scenic eye-candy. Atop the cliff, the panoramic views of the Aran Islands, The Twelve Pins, The Maum Turk Mountains and Loop Head will take your breath away. The visitors’ centre, which has been aptly named Atlantic Edge, can be found close to the cliffs within an underground building. Various studies of the cliffs are on display here focusing on four main themes: Ocean, Rock, Nature and Man.

While you’re in the area, why not pop into Doolin Cave. Less than ten minutes drive up the coast from the Cliffs of Moher you’ll find this fascinating cave, which is home to the longest stalactite in the northern hemisphere, measuring 6.54m (20 ft).

If you’re in the mood for something a little bit different for your first night in Ireland, the Bunratty Medieval Banquet offers a unique experience and a fantastic night of entertainment. Or if you’d prefer a good old Irish pub setting for your first night in Ireland, Durty Nelly’s is always a good choice. From lively traditional Irish music sessions to pulling your own pint and some of the best grub in Ireland, you’re always sure of a good time in Nelly’s.

From Clare it’s onto Kerry, where your tour will get into full swing. Well rested and raring to go fuelled by your delicious full Irish breakfast, it’s time to hit the fairways. Over the course of the next three days you can fit in a round on all of the following:


Tralee Golf Course

Set along a vast and rugged coastline, this links course, which was designed by Arnold Palmer will be where you’ll first get to grips with Southwest Ireland’s fantastic courses. With every hole you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Kerry Head and the Dingle Peninsula.

But don’t let the beautiful scenery fool you, this course will really put your through your paces with a ramping difficulty. The gentle outward nine will see you make your way through Palmer’s Loop (the locals’ collective name for the 6th, 7th and 8th holes). With the back nine you’ll be met with wild and massive dunes. Some highlights will include the 12th hole where you’ll come up against an elevated green protected by a deep ravine; magnificent view of the Bann Strand from the14th; the downhill par three 16th and a challenging dogleg in the 17th.

Founded: 1896 – Tralee Golf Club
Architect: Arnold Palmer
Course type: Links
Par: 72
Standard Scratch Score (SSS): 73
Length: 6,975 yards

Dooks

Dooks is the oldest golf Club in Kerry and one of the oldest in Ireland dating back to 1889. Surrounded by the significant history of this renowned golf course is where you’ll be tackling your next 18 holes.

In 2002, Mr. Martin Hawtree – a famous links architect – was enlisted by the club to enhance the layout of this already stunning course and today Dooks is a truly one of kind course that you’ll enjoy every moment of. With Dooks you get a taste for a real traditional links golf course coupled with arresting views of Dingle and the McGillycuddy Reeks (Ireland’s highest mountain range) along the way.

Founded: 1889
Architect: Martin Hawtree
Course type: Links
Par: 71
Standard Scratch Score (SSS): 71
Length: 6,586 yards

Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is famed for its scenery but in the heart of this region you’ll also find a fantastic par 72 championship course. The Ring of Kerry Golf and Country Club is your next port of call and it will truly take your breath away.

Over these 18 holes, the standard of incredible rugged scenery is matched only by the challenge of the course. The course itself is located between the McGillycuddy’s Reeks and the Caha Mountains, with an overlooking view of Kenmare Bay. Some of the views are truly unbelievable. The Ring of Kerry Golf Course combines the sheer beauty of this region and a fantastic 18 holes making this one course you will not want to pass up.

Founded: 1998
Architect: Eddie Hackett
Course type: Links to Parkland
Par: 72
Standard Scratch Score (SSS): 73
Length: 6,820 yards


Speaking of the Ring of Kerry, when you’re not working your way through Kerry’s finest fairways, you’ll be able to take some time out to fully explore this most talked about of Irish attractions. The Ring of Kerry (or the Iveragh Peninsula) has everything from expansive beaches and stunning landscapes to historical sites dating back to ancient Ireland.

Also in the county of Kerry, is the Dingle Peninsula. This large mass of land measures around 48km (30 mi) and it’s spine is lined with mountains, including Slieve Mish and Mount Brandon (Ireland’s second highest peak). Along this beautiful coastal drive you’ll find sheer cliff faces and vast beaches galore so it’s well worth checking out if you can drag yourself from the clubhouse.

All in all your three days in Kerry can be as action packed or as laid back as you want to make them. You may be sad to leave this region behind, but as unlikely as it may be, things just keep getting better.

Optional Activities/Tours/Entertainment

Day 5 - 6: The Cork region (Cork City and Blarney Castle)

Your next two days will be spent in Cork – the Rebel County – Ireland’s largest county and a fantastic golfing destination. Before you move on you’ll be getting the chance to tee up at these two courses:


Old Head

Old Head Golf Course won the Irish Golf Course of the Year in 2009 and was described by Links Magazine as “the most spectacular course on earth”. Golf fans have been dubbing Old Head as a must play course since it was founded in 1997 and now it’s your turn to see what the hype is all about.

Old Head in Kinsale, County Cork is a headland, which juts out two miles into the Atlantic Ocean and it is the setting for this world-class course. From first to 1st to 18th, you can take in jaw dropping views of the ocean - in fact nine of the holes will see you teeing off along the cliffs tops. This is one round of golf you certainly won’t be forgetting soon.

Founded: 1997
Architect: Ron Kirby, Paddy Merrigan, Liam Higgins, Eddie Hackett and Joe Carr
Course type: Links
Par: 72
Standard Scratch Score (SSS): 72
Length: 7,200 yards

Fota Island Resort

Surrounded by parkland and constantly maintained to the highest standards, it’s easy to see why the Fota Island Resort was chosen to host the Irish Open twice since it was founded in 1993. The dedication of the staff in keeping Fota’s courses at a consistent standard means this is one golfing experience that can easily be enjoyed all year round.

At the resort you’ll find three traditional championship courses on offer, each with their own unique challenge. And as with all of the Southwest’s courses, you’ll once again be treated to that same beautiful Irish scenery, this time in the form of luscious woodlands, which are woven into each of the courses.

The resort’s clubhouse also offers state of the art facilities so you you’ll be sure to enjoy the 19th just as much as the rest of your round.

Founded: 1993
Architect: Jeff Howes
Course type: Parklands / Parklands / Parklands
Par: 71 72 73
Standard Scratch Score (SSS): 73 74 75
Length: 6,927 yards 7,121 yards 7,362 yards


Cork is also full of intriguing attractions to hold your interest off the golf course. Everyone knows of the Blarney Stone and it is in Cork, just outside of Cork City, where this much loved stone resides. There are many variations on the story of to how the stone was endowed with such power, but all agree that kissing the stone will award you with the gift of the gab. Year after year visitors come to Blarney to do just that, but once you’re there you’ll realise that there is so much more to Blarney than its famous stone.

The castle itself, which was built nearly six hundred years ago by Cormac Mac Carthy – one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains – is home to a whole array of attractions that will really give you something to talk about with your new found gift of the gab. The Wising Steps, The Battlement View, Badgers Cave and Rock Close are just a snippet of the many wonders for you to explore at Blarney.

Inside the city, you’ll also find a whole plethora of things to do and see. The history of the city can be dated back to the 7th Century when it was founded by St. Finbarr. You’ll find excellent examples of centuries old architecture around every corner including St. Anne’s Church (complete with its 300 year tower and home to the Shandon Bells) and St. Finbarr’s Cathedral.

The imposing castle like structure of Cork City Gaol is a must see for any visitor to Cork. Back in the 19th Century, this building acted as a prison and through a unique exhibition experience, visitors can peer into the past and see what life was like in Cork from both sides of the prison walls. Also within the confines of Cork City Gaol Is the Radio Museum – home to an impressive collection of archived reels from Ireland’s national broadcaster as well as a restored 6CK Radio Broadcasting Studio.

Optional Activities/Tours/Entertainment

Day 7: Adare and Limerick City

You’re now into the final stretch of your golfing tour of Ireland's Southwest. Today, it’s off to Limerick and in particular Adare, where you’ll be teeing up at Adare Manor – one of this regions most loved golf-course, and for good reason.

Of course, there’s more to Adare, and indeed to Limerick than just golf, so if you have the spare time, make sure to explore as much of this county as possible. Adare itself is known as “Ireland’s prettiest village”. It is a wonderfully picturesque locale where traditional Ireland is still thriving through the friendly townsfolk. You’re never far from a friendly smile or a hopping music session, so even if you’re only visiting for the pleasant scenery you’ll leave with the warmth of true Irish charm.

The best place to start your visit to Adare is its heritage centre home to an insightful exhibition, which delves into the village’s enthralling past. Wandering around this quintessential rural village, you’ll feel magically transported into a simpler time. About 20 minutes up the road you’ll find Limerick City – a bustling urban delight situated at the mouth of the River Shannon (Ireland’s longest river). King John’s Castle is one of Limerick’s most famed monuments and rightfully so. Nestled in the heart of the city on its very own island home, the fantastic 13th Century structure hosts a range of exhibitions and castle tours, which breathe life into the esteemed history of the castle. King John, after whom the castle was named, was once “Lord of Ireland”. He used the building for minting his own coins and today, visitors can receive their very own souvenir coin as a reminder of their visit.

All around the city of Limerick you’ll find a fascinating combination of the old and the new. Georgian streetscapes combine with modern buildings creating a strange mix but one that really works. A stroll along the newly completed boardwalk treats visitors to stunning views of the north bank of the River Shannon, whilst walking down the marina you can stare out along its south bank.

For a glimpse at what Limerick has to offer in terms of culture, drop into the Hunt Museum. One of a kind art pieces and antiques from the Neolithic age to the 20th Century make up the exhibitions of this magnificent museum. Roman, Greek and Egyptian civilisations all make an appearance and even works of art by Yeats, Renoir and Picasso.

Both Limerick and Adare are bursting with a variety of things to do, from the historical to the scenic, but of course you’re here mainly to play golf, so without further ado, here’s where you’ll be playing your last 18 holes of golf in Ireland:


Adare Manor Golf Resort

Adare Manor Golf Resort is yet another of the Southwest’s premier golf courses and the perfect way to finish your Irish golfing tour with a positive swing. For three years running from 2007 – 2009, the Irish Open was hosted at this magnificent golf resort and with it’s ideal location only 22 miles (35.4 km) from Shannon Airport you can relax into your game and really enjoy this majestic parkland course.

Dotted around the 7,453 yards of this championship course you’ll see lakes, historic ruins, towering mature tress and of course, architect Robert Trench Jones senior’s signature cloverleaf bunkers.

The front nine is routed through a heavily wooded area of estate and is dominated by a 14 acre lake, whilst along the holes of the back nine you can take in view of the River Maigue and towards the end, the Manor itself acting as a superb backdrop as you round up your day. In 1987, Robert Trent Jones Senior was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame the Adare Manor’s 18th hole is considered to be some of his best work ever.

Founded: 1993
Architect: Jeff Howes
Course type: Parklands / Parklands / Parklands
Par: 71 72 73
Standard Scratch Score (SSS): 73 74 75
Length: 6,927 yards 7,121 yards 7,362 yards


That night you'll be heading on to Clare for your last overnight, leaving you ideally located for a short trip to the airport the next day. If you haven't already gotten a chance to check them out then now might be the perfect time to drop into the Bunratty Medieval Banquet or Durty Nelly's for some evening entertainment.

Optional Activities/Tours/Entertainment

Day 8: Departure from Shannon

You have at last come to the end of your golfing tour of Ireland’s Southwest. You’ll have experienced some fantastic links and parkland courses and no doubt faced each of their unique challenges head on. You may still have some time to spare before you catch your departing flight, and if so make sure you make the most of it. Enjoy the fresh Irish air one last time before you pack your bags and return home, armed with fantastic stories to regale your friends and family with.

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