As most of you know I own Toms Golf Tours of Scotland & Ireland arranging tours to both countries. I recently spent an enjoyable week with a group and would like to share the experience with you.
After a smooth flight from Atlanta to Shannon Airport in Ireland we were greeted by our coach driver Tim. We had a beautiful 28 seater with leather seats and tables courtesy of Buckley Coaches. Tim is a very personable fellow and looks like he is going to be enjoyable to escort us.
After a nice drive of a little over an hour we arrived at our home for the next 5 nights, The International Hotel
right in downtown Killarney. After checking in and realizing it was just a little after lunch we were too excited to rest. I made arrangements for us to play the Beaufort Golf Club right outside of Killarney. After an enjoyable and very windy round we relaxed in the clubhouse with some Irish Apple Cider. This stuff is potent and great when warmed up. The staff was very gracious and we were even entertained by the clubs pet Peacock strutting all around. A great day.
Started with a traditional Irish Breakfast. This was the first one for some of the guys. Watch our for the Blood Pudding, looks like a little black hockey puck and you don’t want to know what is in it.
Onward to the spectacular Ring of Kerry Golf Club located right on Kenmare Bay with spectacular views throughout. Probably one of the most scenic courses in all of Ireland. It was a beautiful day for golf with partly cloudy skies and just a little breezy. I had a pretty good day with a 75 and bogied the last 3 holes. I did have a nice experience making a Hole In One on the 3rd hole with a little punched 7 iron into a slight breeze from 149 yards.
After the round back to Killarney for a night of good food and drink at an Irish Pub. A beautiful drive back with green fields and sheep everywhere.
Located right on the Dingle Peninsula. One of the finest little links courses in Ireland. The round started out great but after a few holes a front came through and the temperature dropped like a stone. Really pretty uncomfortable. We decided to give it another shot tomorrow instead of sightseeing as was planned. This course is rugged and beautiful with lots of gorse and heather with bumps and mounds everywhere. Reminds me a little of St. Andrews.
Had a great dinner with the guys at Murphy’s Pub. The best Fish and Chips in Killarney. I had to try the Irish Stew. Very delicious and filling. If you are ever in Killarney don’t miss Murphy’s.
A little drizzly again today and my back was a little sore so I decided to drop the fellows off to play Dooks again without me. I had some sightseeing I needed to get done. Tim the coach driver and myself headed for a tour of the incredible Ring of Kerry.
This is some of the most spectacular scenery in all Ireland, about a 4 hour trip. Rugged mountains, beautiful lakes, fields of green and sheep and lambs everywhere. One of the reasons I made this tour was to stop at a little chocolate factory in the middle of nowhere called Skelligs Chocolate Co. My wife Jana found this a few years ago by accident and filled her addiction. She made me promise to return to pick up some for her. Check it out online at www.skelligschocolate.com. There are 5 little old ladies hand making chocolates to be shipped all over the world. After picking up the chocolate we were off to Waterville on the southern coast. They have a wonderful links course here that was a favorite of Payne Stewart. There is a life sized statue of him in front of the clubhouse. Stopped off at a pub in the coastal town of Waterville for a great lunch of Seafood Chowder and Brown Bread. Headed back to Dooks to pick up the golfers. They were in the club quaffing brews after a brisk round. Back to Killarney for an Irish Coffee with everyone in Hannigan’s Pub in our hotel and out into Killarney in search of Pub Grub for dinner.
This was the day we have all been waiting for. A round of golf on the world famous Old Head Golf Links of Kinsale.
This course sits on a peninsula on the very bottom of Ireland. It is basically an Island with 250 foot cliffs all around. The course itself is a true links layout with all the gorse, heather, humps, bumps and wind you could want. I’ve been playing golf 50 years and this course will take your breath away. Words can help describe it, pictures a little better but until you are actually on it you cannot get the magnificent experience. Check out their website www.oldheadgolflinks.com. It is great. Had a wonderful 77 year old Irish caddy named Pat. He was worth the experience himself. A real professional caddy that knew all the nuances of the course. I couldn’t understand half of what he said in his thick Irish brogue but it was neat listening to him. Shot an 81 in a heavy wind and was quite pleased. To a man the whole group said this was the by far the greatest golfing experience of their lives. We were all beat but couldn’t stop talking about the course all the way back to Killarney. Fish and Chips at Murphy’s and off to bed with Adare Manor on the schedule for tomorrow.
After a great Irish Breakfast played the beautiful Parkland Course, Mahony’s Point at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club today. Lunch in the clubhouse and off to Adare Manor.
A magnificent and luxurious Manor House started in 1720 and completed in 1823. Roamed the spectacular grounds in the afternoon and had a great dinner at the Golf Club House. Mark O’Meara, former Masters and British Open Champion. He was a few tables over from us. Had a little chat with him and he was over to do some fly fishing. His second passion he said. Had a toddy in the Tack Room at he Manor House and off to bed.
We visited Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in the morning. An authentic 17th century reproduction of an Irish Village. Very interesting. Lunch at “Durty Nellies Pub”. Sawdust on the floors and a really authentic old time Irish Pub. Golf at Adare Manor Golf Club in the afternoon. This course has been home to the Irish Open a few times and is one of the best in Ireland. Dinner tonight at the Blue Door Restaurant. A little place with an authentic thatched roof and really a blue door.. Very quaint and great food.
Back to the bar at the manor for a final Irish Coffee on our last night.
All good things must come to an end. A sad goodbye to all the wonderful golf and all the other great experiences we had in this great country. I can’t wait to return. On to Shannon Airport and back to Atlanta.
There should be a law that all lovers of the game should play golf in Ireland before they die. If they don’t it’s their loss.
Hope everyone enjoyed this as much as I did recalling it. If you are interested in a trip to Ireland I would be happy to help arrange one for you. I’ll get back to some golf tips in my next articles.