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Furbs311
LSU Fan
South Carolina
Member since Oct 2005
418 posts

Ireland Trip - Review Added
Headed to Ireland early May for 6 rounds in 6 days. Rounds are at Old Head x2, Tralee, Waterville, Ballybunion, and Lahinch.

I’ve got rain gear, long sleeves, and lots of extra balls - but for those of you that have played in Ireland/Scotland, any tips on how to make the most of my time there and/or what to prepare for? I’m mostly worried about staying loose enough to swing walking 6 consecutive rounds
This post was edited on 5/20 at 2:24 pm


shamrock
Ole Miss Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2015
2451 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
Guinness and Snickers..seriously..worked for us in Northern Ireland last year. I’m not even a beer drinker, but Guinness from the tap over there is memorable. Snickers during the long walking rounds was our steroid.


Furbs311
LSU Fan
South Carolina
Member since Oct 2005
418 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
What time of year were you there? I’m wondering if I should even pack shorts..


shamrock
Ole Miss Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2015
2451 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
June.. we took all kinds of clothing too but weather was perfect all week except rainy the last day..still wore pants every day as we usually stared early


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bctiger6
LSU Fan
NOLA
Member since Jul 2007
1270 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
Bring an extra pair of golf shoes in case one pair gets soaked


Furbs311
LSU Fan
South Carolina
Member since Oct 2005
418 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
Good idea. I have a “water proof” pair, but I’m told even those may not be enough


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mindbreaker
New Orleans Saints Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Dec 2011
4748 posts
 Online 

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
I headed there in July and we are staying at dromoland castle. plan on playing there. good call on checking the weather there for that time of year.


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10
LSUcdro
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2009
9470 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
Be prepared for 4 seasons in one day

Old Head is absolutely amazing


Furbs311
LSU Fan
South Carolina
Member since Oct 2005
418 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
The pictures of Old Head look amazing, though it does look a bit.. exposed to the elements


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Scottforeverlsu
Member since Nov 2016
167 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
Tralee is a bucket list course for me


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Furbs311
LSU Fan
South Carolina
Member since Oct 2005
418 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
I’ll definitely post a summary of the trip
This post was edited on 3/27 at 8:26 pm


wahoocs
LSU Fan
Lafayette, LA
Member since Nov 2004
11950 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
Doing a 2020 Summer trip. Looking at Royal Portrush and Royal County Down out of Dublin, then Ballybunion, Tralee, and Lahinch before flying out of Shannon

Advice on everything appreciated. I’ve read travel board stuff and available internet advice. Not trying to skimp, and trying to cater to non golfers on the trip too


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hiltacular
Georgia Tech Fan
CHI
Member since Jan 2011
14904 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
quote:

Old Head x2, ], , Ballybunion, and Lahinch.

I have played these 3. Obviously bring rain gear. I did not make it an entire round without some form of rain occurring. If you are renting clubs, I believe all 3 courses provided brand new TM. Some courses are no alcohol...


Not much to do around any of these courses from what I remember, I would really plan out your lodging/travel arrangements. I know we went to speckled door near old head, wife went into town near ballybunnion and from what she tells me, it was extremely boring. Balls are just extremely difficult to find if you are off the fairway so plan accordingly
This post was edited on 3/28 at 2:54 pm


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The General
LSU Fan
Bossier City
Member since Nov 2003
472 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
I have been to Ireland twice and making third Scotland trip in July. Played the courses you listed and you will not be disappointed. Old Head is pretty but not a great layout like the old links courses like Lahinch & BallyBunion. Played Lahinch in the rain for the entire round and it was awesome for some reason. Waterville is my favorite on your list. My tips based on my previous trips.
1. Two pair of golf shoes (great if one pair can be also be worn as causal shoes)
2. I Gave the caddies a sleeve of balls along with a tip if they also were golfers. Balls are expensive and they appreciated it.
3. Let the caddie use the umbrella. Buy a great Gortex rain suit, waterproof bucket hat and rain gloves. It it worth the money and will last a lifetime. I still have the same one from 2008. I bought my bucket hat in Scotland. Also make sure you have a good club cover.
3. Buy snacks here and take with you. Granola bars, nuts, etc.. Pack in ziplock bags and put in your luggage. Put a few in golf bag for each round.
4. Don’t overpack clothes. You will end up buying a couple of golf shirts or pullovers, just wear them.
5. Put an extra pair of socks in your golf bag, inside a ziplock bag. Wet feet equals blisters and you will be miserable if that happens.
6. The Must-Packs: Advil, AD Ointment or Boudreaux’s Paste, baby powder (for your feet), stomach meds just in case the food doesn’t agree. Don’t need the shits when there golf to be played. I also bring Tylenol PM to make sure I rested for the next round.
7. No need for any dressy clothes. Jeans or Khakis with a golf shirt/pullover will be fine in 95% of Ireland, especially if you will be in Killarney area.

Take plenty of pictures and take it all in. Ireland awesome and one of my favorite places in the world. The golf is great but the people are better. My time in the pubs after the rounds was just as memorable.


Furbs311
LSU Fan
South Carolina
Member since Oct 2005
418 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
quote:

The General




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20
Eye dentist
Member since Oct 2013
85 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
Going in August. Will play Old Head, Waterville, Ballybunion, and Lahinch. Will definitely use this list. Thx.


Furbs311
LSU Fan
South Carolina
Member since Oct 2005
418 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
In the middle of the trip now. Played Old Head, Tralee, and Waterville thus far. Ballybunion tomorrow and Lahinch Friday.

I’ll write a detailed review of everything over the weekend, but spoiler alert.. it’s been the trip of a lifetime


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30
Furbs311
LSU Fan
South Carolina
Member since Oct 2005
418 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
Just got back this weekend. Thought a few might enjoy a trip review..

Planning/Transportation - In Ireland, we had a group of 8 that played 6 rounds in 6 days, and had accommodations for 7 nights in three different cities. Four guys from the group went the week before to Scotland and played four rounds there before meeting the rest of us in Ireland.

We used a company called Hidden Links Golf (https://www.hiddenlinksgolf.com) to set everything up. I was just a participant, so I can’t comment on how easy/difficult it was to work with them, but from my standpoint it was excellent. Hidden Links arranged all transportation, hotel (including breakfast each day) and tee times. They were very flexible when we wanted to move tee times a few times (had one too early in the morning, and another we wanted to get in before predicted weather moved in). We had the same executive bus and driver all week, which was nice to be able to leave clubs, shoes, jackets etc in each day. The bus had large leather seats, refrigerator, and table area that made the travel through each stop really comfortable.

Traveling to Ireland - I used reward points from Savannah to Shannon, connecting through JFK. Delta runs seasonal service to Shannon during the summer months, and it was pretty cheap round trip, even cheaper than some west coast trips I’ve taken. Both coming and going the flight was about 80% full, and my delta comfort seat didn’t have anyone next to me. I know United and American have flights there as well, and a few took a low fare rate with Air Lingus our of Boston.

Our first hotel was about 2 hours from Shannon in a town called Kinsale, which is the last town on the way to Old Head. We stayed at the Actons Hotel (www.actonshotelkinsale.com)which was right on the little bay, and within walking distance to everything in town. The hotel was fine - beds were a little small, especially since we did double occupancy at each stop. Overall Kinsale is a cool little town with lots of the quality pubs and restaurants you’d expect in Ireland. They also had an old fort that apparently is their main tourist attraction.

Old Head - Played here the first two days of the trip. It seemed odd to me that we were spending two days at the same course, but after being there, it’s completely justified. It’s the most amazing piece of property I’ve ever seen for a golf course. Several in the group said it tops Pebble and Augusta in their minds just due to the sheer scenery on every hole. The first day was spent soaking it all in, the second more focused on playing the course. Both days the weather was incredible - nearly 60 and sunny - though the second day the wind was very gusty, which made this difficult layout extremely hard.

Each group had one caddy, and the rest of us used pull carts. The caddy both days were nice, but not extremely helpful, though they did help with lines off the tee and finding stray balls for the group so we all tipped a bit after the rounds.

Course conditions were the best of the trip. The place was in immaculate shape. Despite not being a traditional Irish links course, it should absolutely be on any itinerary for a golf trip in that direction. I can’t wait to go back. My rating - 10/10





After our second day, we took about a 2.5 hour ride to Killarney and stayed at the International Hotel (www.killarneyinternational.com). Killarney was definitely the biggest town of the trip, and had the most going on in terms of restaurants and night life. They also have a horse track and the week long annual race was happening while we were there, so wandered out to the track one evening and watched a few races. The hotel was also the best of the three white nice, big rooms and comfortable beds. We stayed here for three nights and shuttled back and forth between the courses.



Tralee - After the two days at Old Head, we played our next round at Tralee which is a “newer” course designed by Arnold Palmer. The front 9 and back 9 are very different. The front has some nice views, but the back was beautiful. Course was in good condition, but the layout felt a bit forced a gimmicky - some blind shots into very unforgiving greens for example. Each group got a caddie again, and the guy in our group was the head greenskeeper for 25 years since the course opened, so he was very knowledgeable, though his green reading skills were pretty lacking. Overall it was a good course, but not sure I’d rush to play it again. My rating - 7/10





Waterville - Having never been to Ireland, Waterville was the type of links course I had in my head. The views were breathtaking, and the layout was challenging but fair. Our driver informed us the day before that golf carts were available at Waterville, and after walking three days on hilly courses, the group welcomed the break. Since we had the carts, we skipped caddies for the day and just relied on the yardage book which worked fine for most holes. The clubhouse has recently been refurbished and it was a nice place to grab a quick bite after the round. This is definitely a course I could play regularly. My rating - 9/10





Ballybunnion - the Old Course at Ballybunnion has a ton of history, and I was looking forward to playing it. All the courses thus far had pretty normal practice facilities, but this one was a little odd. The range was across the street from the clubhouse, and they shuttled you back and forth on carts, where you hit off mats instead of grass. We also decided against caddies since it was significantly more expensive then we had encountered thus far, though the pro tried to push us pretty hard to take one. As far as layout, most of the front 9 was along a pretty busy road, and personally I just didn’t love the configuration of a few holes. It was also in the worst shape of the courses we played, with lots of bare spots and ground under repair areas. To me, this is one that could have been skipped. My rating- 6/10




After our round, we drove about an hour and a half (including a 25 min ferry ride) to the town of Lahinch. We stayed at the Lahinch Coast Hotel (www.lahinchcoasthotel.ie) which had fine rooms and a nice bar where we watched the PGA championship. The town itself is tiny, about 1000 full time residents and one small street with a few pubs and restaurants. Apparently it’s a big surfer town as well, with some of those crazy people out in the freezing cold water well after 10PM.

Before our last round, we drove about 20 minutes out of town to the cliffs of Moher, which are about 14km of beautiful seaside cliffs. We only walked around there for an hour before heading back, but I’m sure a good half a day could be spent walking around the cliffs and checking out the little museum.


This post was edited on 5/20 at 2:25 pm


Furbs311
LSU Fan
South Carolina
Member since Oct 2005
418 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
Lahinch - Lahinch was a gem from start to finish. The one quirk here was the lack of practice facilities. They have a pitch and putt area, but that was closed as they are making plans to host the Irish Open in a few weeks and grandstands were already starting to go up. We hit a few wedges into nets and putted a bit on a small practice green before heading out. We were required to take at least one caddie per group, and both groups had the best caddies of the week. Both had worked at the course for 30+ years and could find almost any ball, despite the incredibly thick grass. The views were probably the least overwhelming overwhelming of the trip, but the course itself was spectacular and in great shape. The only disappointment was the signature par three on the front 9 with a blind shot to the green which was completely closed due to preparations for the open. They had set up a temporary tee box and green just next to it which was not nearly as fun. But overall, this is one that should be on any agenda for an Ireland visit. My rating - 9.5/10





Weather - In 7 days, and 6 rounds of golf, it literally only rained (if you could call it that) for one hole at Ballybunnion. We had several days that were in the lower 60’s and sunny. A few guys wore shorts, and I definitely broke a sweat climbing some of the dunes in search of wayward shots. However, the wind was there pretty much everyday, which I loved since it was so different than what we get here on the east coast. I’d have one downhill, downwind hole where a drive would go almost 330, followed by a 150 yard approach shot that required a 200 yard club.

In summary, the trip was incredible, and I’d recommend everyone trying to get over there at least once. I definitely can’t wait to go back as I know this is only a small sample of some of the great courses over there. Sorry for the long post, but wanted to write it while it was still fresh, and hopefully this is helpful if you’re thinking of planning a trip. Happy to answer any questions.


Golfer
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2005
71710 posts

re: Ireland Trip - Review Added
Any chance you had Rocky as your caddie at Lahinch?


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