Mount Wolseley Killeen Castle No other course can boast such a glorious landscape as Killeen Castle. Six hundred lazy acres, drenched in trees, wrapped around a 12th century castle… how could it not be the idyllic setting for a Jack Nicklaus ‘Signature’ course. This is the longest course in Ireland (7,677 yards), and home to the Solheim Cup in 2011, but golfers of all abilities will enjoy this expansive course. There are five tees (choose wisely) and fairways always appear wide and inviting, which makes this a delicious driving course. Every hole is strong, but the par five 12th, with its stream cascading across the front of the green, may be Killeen Castle’s signature hole. Mount Wolseley One of our big parklands, Mount Wolseley comes with plenty of muscle (back tees: 7,300 yards) as well as a smart hotel. This is another Christy O’Connor Jr design and choosing the right tee will make a significant difference to your round. There is dynamic movement to the landscape as emphasised by the opening three holes routed through big trees and over water. This is as good/ tough a start as you will play (Indices 7, 3 and 1) but it gets you in the mood for a round that demands strong driving. The many bunkers splashed about protect fairways and greens vigorously, and the big, slick putting surfaces are hard to gauge. Most of the long holes are doglegs and the short 4th may be the biggest risk vs. reward hole in Ireland. A sharp dogleg of 338 yards, the green is only 260 yards away, directly over a lake. 34 Palmerstown House The site of a former stud, this is a muscular course built with championship ambitions. It has that grand, glamorous feel, it has space and length, it has a magnificent clubhouse (part of Palmerstown House which dates back to the 1860s) and no expense was spared in its creation. Here, water abounds with 13 holes introducing ponds, lakes and streams. From the back tees the course measures 7,419 yards, but from the regular tees it is a more modest and manageable 6,468 yards – Christy O’Connor Jr was kind enough to provide four men’s tees. Gentle mounding steers you past pampas grasses, flowerbeds and tall trees, over generous fairways, around the water features and towards big swinging greens. Carton House (O’Meara) The O’Meara course has those perfect parkland assets familiar to everyone as it rolls through mature woodland. And yet the trees stay well back to give the course an unexpected spaciousness. Off the tee the big manicured fairways are hugely inviting targets, making this long course a driver’s delight. There are five par fives, too. The O’Meara is often lauded for its superb stretch of three holes down by the River Rye. The two par threes and the par five 15th squeezed in between are exceptional holes, lost amongst the trees. Water is ever-present so it is little wonder they are so memorable.