If you are a golfer and heading to Ireland, you have to head to Newcastle. Why? To play the world renowned Royal County Down. One of the top ten golf courses in the world. And deservedly so. It’s spectacular.
But let me go back and talk about the planning for this trip. If you are not using a tour operator, you can book a tee time yourself. However, tee times can be sparse. Royal county Down opens its tee times in June for the following year. I booked my tee times about 9 months before and then planned my trip around those tee times.
Once the tee times on Royal County Down was planned, I began assessing where else to golf. The initial plan was to go up north to the Portrush area but the impending British Open only allowed us mat play. So we opted to skip that area until next time.
Since we were flying into Dublin, we had a lot of options. We have already played Portmarnock and the European. Both outstanding courses. Our second area consisted of K Club or Calton. Booked. So we ended up playing The Island and a Baltray County Louth. Both fabulous links courses on our drive up to Newscastle.
We arrived in Dublin and opted to spend a night in the city to recuperate. After several Guinness we went to bed early. We stayed at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin. Check out my review.
In the morning we picked up our rental car and drove the 20 minutes to the Island golf course. It was really beautiful. A true links course with a lot of fun undulations. And the wind just kills you!
After a delicious lunch at the club, we headed 40 minutes north to Drogheda. A small town on the river near our next hotel. There’s not much to do. We stayed at the D hotel and hung out in the bar attached to a mall. I would rethink this hotel. It was rather subpar.
The next morning we headed 10 minutes to Baltray. Another links course but not very special. I wouldn’t go back. After lunch at the club we headed and hour and a half north to Newcastle.
Our hotel, the Slieve Donard, was amazing. Everything you expect from a five star hotel. Check out my review!
After checking in, we walked down the road to the quaint town of Newcastle. There’s several pubs and restaurant options.
The next morning we headed to play Ardglass. A 40 minute drive through the beautiful countryside of Ireland. The clubhouse is set in an old castle. Spectacular seaside cliffs for several holes. Just such a fun golf course.
The next two days we spent plying Royal County Down. Amazing world class golf. You simply walk to the private entrance from the hotel. It was amazing.
At the end of our last day, we sadly headed back to Dublin, returned our rental car. We stayed at the airport hotel, the Maldron. It’s pretty crappy. See my reviews. We should have gone back to Dublin or maybe even Malahide to have something to do. But leaving was easy in the morning.
Overall, it was a great trip. Portrush and Portstewert should have been added. We would skip County Louth/baltray. But we had a blast!