The 5 Best Golf Courses In Ireland & Northern Ireland

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The 5 Best Golf Courses In Ireland & Northern Ireland


If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably dreamt of the perfect golf trip, playing some of the best courses in the World, and creating amazing memories with your friends! Well, a trip to Ireland could be the golf holiday of a lifetime. Not only could you be playing some of the best golf courses, but you could also experience the famous Irish craic!

 

The best thing about golf, wherever you play, is the ability to walk in the footsteps of golfing legends and play shots on the same fairways. Many of the top golfers in the World have played these courses, and some are even current members! So sit back, grab a pint of Guinness, and I’ll take you through my top 5 choices of the best golf courses in Ireland.

 

Royal County Down Golf Club, Northern Ireland

First on my list, and considered one of the top golf courses in Ireland, is Royal County Down. The course frequently appears in the top 100 lists; Royal County Down is a must-play course in Ireland. It features the famous Championship Course with a par of 71 within the beautiful setting of heather and gorse, with the Mountains of Mourne forming a breathtaking backdrop.

 

If you’re looking to play here, it will cost around €240 for 18 holes. The club is renowned for hosting the Irish Open, Walker Cup, and Senior British Open Amateur, so you’ll need to bring your best game.

 

If you need another reason to play this amazing course, then maybe knowing Rory McIlroy was a regular at Royal County Down during his early golfing days could help your decision. You never know; you might even see Rory playing the course too!

 

Portmarnock Golf Club, Ireland

Best Golf Courses In Ireland & Northern Ireland - Portmarnock Golf Club - 12th Hole (Photograph by Adam Toth)
Photograph by Adam Toth

 

Portmarnock Golf Club is next on my list; it’s one of the best golf courses to play in Ireland and offers a challenging championship course with a par of 72. Make sure you bring lots of spare golf balls; it’s surrounded by water on three sides, providing a unique links golf experience.

 

The green fee to play 18 holes is €205, which is pretty reasonable for such a top-quality course. The club has hosted many top-level competitions, including the Irish Open and the Walker Cup.

 

What I love about the golf courses in Ireland is their rich history. Portmarnock is no different; over the years, they’ve had some of the best players of all time play the course. This is the course where legends Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead played during the Canada Cup in 1960.

 

Lahinch Golf Club, Ireland

Lahinch Golf Club - Best Golf Courses In Ireland and Northern Ireland

 

Lahinch Golf Club, at number three, is one of my favorite courses in Ireland and one I would love to play! It offers one of the best Ireland golf vacations for the avid golfer. The Old Course was originally designed by Old Tom Morris, then later modified by Dr. Alister MacKenzie, the same architect behind Augusta National – beware…the greens are also as fast as Augusta!

 

With a par of 72 and a fee of €240 for 18 holes, the club is a top championship venue, and it currently hosts the South of Ireland Championship. The natural dunes, blind shots, and unpredictable winds add a layer of complexity, offering an experience that’s both challenging and rewarding.

 

Another course with a strong connection to the top golfers in the World, one of its honorary life members, is professional golfer Phil Mickelson. The course is only one hour from Adare Manor, the host of the 2027 Ryder Cup. So, if you’re planning to visit for this event, you must make sure you plan a stop at Lahinch Golf Club as part of your trip.

 

Adare Manor, Ireland

So, as we’ve mentioned, Adare Manor, let’s explain why this is next on my list of the top golf courses in Ireland. Adare Manor was recently redesigned by renowned architect Tom Fazio; he has created a masterpiece that has successfully hosted the 2020 JP McManus Pro-Am tournament; Adare Manor will also host the 2027 Ryder Cup.

 

If you’re looking to plan the best Ireland golf vacations, you must make sure to include Adare Manor. This par-72 course costs a hefty €375 to play 18 holes; however, in life, you get what you pay for, and this course certainly delivers on all levels.

 

Professional golfer and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington is closely associated with the club; he called Adare Manor the “Augusta of Ireland.” With state-of-the-art facilities and amazing scenery, Adare Manor is often underrated but, in my view, is one of the best Ireland golf vacations.

 

Ballybunion Golf Club, Ireland

Photograph by Evan Schiller

 

Ballybunion Golf Club’s Old Course is undoubtedly one of the top courses in Ireland and is next on the list. One of the oldest courses in Ireland, founded in 1893, its seaside location offers a real golfing challenge with its unpredictable coastal winds.

 

A par 71 course, this has been a regular venue for the Irish Ladies’ Close Championship. Legendary golfer Tom Watson has also been a frequent player at Ballybunion.

 

If you choose this course for a golf break, try to make sure you don’t tee off first in front of your group. Ballybunion Golf Club is known for its challenging opening hole, a testing 445-yard par 4, which requires a very accurate tee shot, guaranteed to set the nerves racing.

Ballybunion is a must-play golf course in Ireland, offering an experience you will not want to miss.

 

Bonus: Enniscrone Golf Club, Ireland

 

Enniscrone Golf Club is my bonus pick for one of the golf courses in Ireland. Golf on the West Coast offers some of the best golf in the whole of Ireland. This course had to be included, not only because it’s an amazing course, but also because my relatives live very local to this course in nearby Ballina, and I can always join them for a few pints of Guinness after my round.  

 

The Dunes Course at Enniscrone Golf Club, a par-73, will set you back €175 for 18 holes. The club has hosted the West of Ireland Amateur Open and the Irish PGA Championship. It’s well known for its towering dunes and spectacular views, providing a true links golf challenge.

 

Conclusion

From lush green parklands to dramatic coastal locations, golf in Ireland isn’t just a round —it’s an unforgettable experience. These best golf courses in Ireland offer challenging layouts, exceptional facilities, and stunning landscapes. Whether it’s the historic Royal County Down or the visually stunning Adare Manor, these courses guarantee a world-class golfing experience.

 

Remember, golf isn’t just about your score; it’s about having fun and enjoying the game. Whatever level you play at, just embrace the unique challenges that each course presents and take in the breathtaking scenery. Then, of course, after a day on the greens, there’s nothing like sitting in the clubhouse, recounting the day’s play over a pint of Guinness!

 

So, why wait? Grab your clubs, text your golfing buddies, and start planning your golf vacation to the beautiful land of Ireland.

 

Oh, and before you step out onto the course, make sure you’ve selected some great games to play, check out our favorites here. Make sure your bag is filled with all the essentials and make sure you practice your putting too, we love this putting mat

Love Golf? Then join us at Sunday Red Golf today for articles, giveaways, exclusive offers on golf gear, and more. Until then, keep swinging and enjoying the best golf Ireland has to offer!


Craig Barnard

Craig is a golf enthusiast and owner of Fun Golf. Having played the game for over 30 years he has always been passionate about the game. Today Craig offers golf advice and golf tips to beginner golfers through his popular website, social media and best-selling Golf Instruction books. Craig spent many years working at Woburn Golf Club in his younger years. Seeing how the team of PGA professionals helped so many golfers improve and get so much enjoyment from the game from golf instruction, he was inspired to see how he could do the same. Fun Golf came from, a desire to help golfers have fun and improve their game.

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