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New York: 1-800-66-IRISH (+718-745-9146)

Cork:+353-(0)21-439-1996

Dublin:+353-(0)1-278-2677

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Group Golf Tour

Ireland is a country known for its stunning landscapes, vibrant colourful villages, ancient Celtic relics, lush green valleys and abandoned castles. As an ocean ‘outpost’ at the western edge of Europe, it has a natural character quite different to the Continental landmass. Ireland’s past has been remarkably tumultuous provoking a tradition of courage, humour and creativity. More recently it has become synonymous with quality goods and excellent shopping – with a wealth of Irish crafts, clothing and gifts available throughout Ireland. Creative crafts are flourishing – original designs in metalwork, ceramics and glass, as well as the traditional crafts such as knitting, basketry, lace-making and woodworking have been revived. Jewellers make use of Celtic patterns and hand-knitted woolen knitwear such as Aran sweaters are never out of fashion!

DAY 1 LAHINCH, CO CLARE

Cead Mile Failte – Welcome to Ireland
. Arrive in Shannon Airport, where you will be met by your driver and transferred to your accommodation – the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon. Leave off your luggage and you will then proceed to Lahinch Golf Course for your first round of golf in Ireland!

“Lahinch will make the finest and most popular course that I, or I believe anyone else, ever constructed” Dr. Alastair Mackenzie.

Frequently referred to as the St. Andrews of Ireland, Lahinch looks out on the ever changing Atlantic Ocean, and is subject to all her mood swings. However, comparisons between the two famous courses go much further as their respective citizens share a common love and enthusiasm for the game of golf.

The two courses at Lahinch were actually first planned by officers of a Scottish Regiment, who considered this rugged and uncompromising countryside of Co. Clare prefect terrain for golf. The original layout for the course was the brainchild of old Tom Morris, himself a four times British Open champion. Subsequent alterations were put in the capable hands of Scottish architect Dr. Alastair MacKenzie, who had also worked on Augusts, Pebble Beach and Cypress Point.

The main championship links at Lahinch is justifiably proud of the reputation it has gathered as a stern challenge to even the most gifted of golfers. The notorious Klondyke par five, 5th hole forces the golfer to get over an intimidating dune wall to a ‘blind’ green. Of the twin courses at Lahinch, the Castle Course, presents golfers with a slightly less formidable though equally interesting prospect.

In the afternoon you can travel further through the haunting scenery of The Burren and see first hand the Cliffs of Moher.

This vast, bare, eerie limestone plateau which covers much of Co Clare is gradually being established as a national park. In the Burren area the limestone is deeply fissured and most of the rivers have gone underground creating an extensive cave system.

4000 years of farming has largely denuded the country of trees and vegetation but the Burren is noted for the “opposite” contrasts of its flower population with Mediterranean and Alpine species flourishing side by side. There are seaside resorts at Liscannor, Lahinch and Milltown Malbay.

The coast road south of Black Head provides a fine view of the huge boulders, deposited at the end of the Ice Age which rest on the bare limestone pavement in fine weather the Aran Islands are visible offshore. Some of the many megalithic tombs in the Burren lie on the east side of the road between Aillwee and Leamaneh.

Over the ages running water burrowing through the soft limestone of the Burren has created miles of dark caves and underground passages that offer a speleological playground to cavers and pot-holers. The less venturesome can savour a brief, less risky taste of underground life by visiting the Ailwee Caves, near the village of Ballyvaughan. This is one of Ireland’s largest cave systems, oozing with stalagmites and stalactites, nowadays spectacularly lit up by arc lamps for the wonder of the modern visitors who descend into the underground labyrinth of caves.

Your journey north will also include a chance to see the Cliffs of Moher. Great dark sandstone cliffs 600ft (182m) rising sheer from the Atlantic for nearly 5 miles ( 8km). Screaming sea birds throng the ledges or wheel and swoop about the waves. The best views is from O’Brien’s Tower, built in 1853 by Cornelius O’Brien.

Return to the Falls Hotel for overnight.

DAY 2 BALLYBUNION, CO KERRY

This morning after a hearty Irish breakfast your driver will take you to the world famous Link’s Course at Ballybunion.

“Ballybunion is a course on which many golf architects should live and play before they build golf courses. I consider it a true test of golf.”

The legendary Tom Watson described the glorious links course at Ballybunion as “the best in the world”. High praise indeed for this magnificient test of golf which meanders menacingly through massive dunes on the shores of the Atlantic.

Ballybunion actually boasts two separate courses. The Old Course ( Par 71, 6593 yards ) and the Cashen Course ( Par 72, 6216 yards ) which was created by golf architect, Robert Trent Jones Senior.

The Old Course consistently ranked as one of the world’s top ten courses, features a graveyard by the first tee, which some say is a warning to golfers who breeze through the first five holes only to come face to face with the everchallenging 6th, the fiendish 8th, the par four 11th and the devilishly tricky 15th.Close by, the Cashen Course, with its succession of formidable par fives and breathtaking beauty, amply qualifies as one of the world’d masterpieces.

In the afternoon you may like to stop of in Limerick and Bunratty on the return journey to your accommodation. Built on the estuary of the River Shannon, Limerick City is an impressive city with King John’s Castle overlooking the River.

Bunratty Castle and Folkpark – the Castle was the ancient stronghold of the Princes of Thomond.The most complete and mediaeval castle in Ireland, and the only example restored as a faithful picture of 15th and 16th century life. Lord Gort’s wonderful collection of early furniture, tapestries and works of art can be seen in the castle.

Beside the castle a more recent form of nostalgia is evoked in Bunratty Folk Park, where an Irish village of the 20s or 30s has been reconstructed. Among the interesting museum displays there are fully functional shops where you can buy replicas of the goods of that long gone era, though not, unfortunately, at the prices that prevailed then.

In the Summer they hold ceilis, traditional Irish dances, in one of the farmhouse and serve bowls of Irish stews and soda bread to sustain the energy of the dancing folk.

Overnight in the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon.

DAY 3 ARAN ISLANDS (FREE DAY)

Today take a day off from your Irish golfing exploits and visit the Aran Islands. You can take a bus from Galway to Rossaveal and then the ferry over to the largest of the Aran Islands where you can spend the day.

At Kilronan Pier on Inishmore you can rent a bicycle and take a tour of this lovely island, one of the most westerly points in Europe. Your tour will give you an overall view of the island’s historic sites, culture and history and visits to Dun Aonghusa Fort and the seven churches the early Christian Monastic site.

The Aran Islands are an extension of the Burren, Co. Clare, these three small Atlantic Islands about 30 miles out from Galway, are rocky and barren, with small holdings divided by unmortared stone walls. Pockets of soil have been manufactured by the islanders from sand and seaweed, to grow scanty crops for livestock. The islands connected with Galway by air and ferry, are Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer. Renowned for preserving traditional ways of life, they have been celebrated in the writings of JM Synge and in the 1934 film Man of Aran.

One of the most magnificently sited monuments of prehistoric Europe. Dun Aengus is a stone fort perched on a cliff which falls over 200 feet to the Atlantic Ocean below. It has three almost concentric rows of defenses, one of which has chevaux-de-frise, stones stuck upright in the ground outside the wall it makes access difficult.The innermost wall has interior steps, wall-walks and wall chambers. Its dates and purposes are unknown. Fishing, the islands main industry, is done from currachs, frail-looking boats of laths and tarred canvas.Gaelic is the principal language, and many of the summer visitors are language students. The islands’ capital is Kilronan on Inishmore.

In the late afternoon you will say “Slan” to the Aran Islands and return by ferry to the mainland at 5.00pm, where the bus will be waiting for you in Rossaveal, and transfer you once again to the Falls Hotel.

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