Destination Golf Ireland 2019 * - Page 8

Tourists visit Giant’s Causeway on a beautiful summers day. Links of the North By Andrew & Paul Marshall From some of the world’s best links, legendary Irish hospitality, the Giant’s Causeway and a Bushmills whiskey by a roaring peat fire, the north of Ireland is a great destination for a golf trip. Golfing brothers ANDREW & PAUL MARSHALL take a journey. Ah...the joys, frustrations and vagaries of links golf, where a well-executed shot can get an unfortunate kick and end up in a bunker, or a mishit shot may get a lucky bounce and finish on the green. Links courses with their unique characteristics retain their allure as the game’s original and purest form and they come in no greater dramatic abundance than in the north of Ireland. Created by nature and dotted like gems around the coastline, these courses by the sea have all the quintessential ingredients - stunning ocean views, towering marram grass dunes, rumpled fairways, fast undulating greens, deep pot bunkers and ever-present winds. Not golf for the fainthearted, to-be-sure, to-be -sure, to-be-sure. Some layouts such as the Dunluce course at Royal Portrush are timeless classics where golf has been played since the late 1800s, whilst others such as Rosapenna’s Sandy Hills and Ballyliffin’s Glashedy Links are comparatively recent creations 6 that still look as though they have been part of the scenery since then. Finding your way to these links is all part of the experience - driving through wild landscapes of brooding mountains and eerie peat moors, past boulder-strewn rivers and ancient castles perched on windswept headlands. The roads, sometimes twisting and narrow, can take longer than expected to navigate. You may make a few wrong turns along the way or get stuck behind a tractor, but it’s time well spent in anticipation. Adding to the golfing experience are the locals you meet at the courses, who have a tremendous gift of making you feel welcome. And let’s not forget the wonderful clubhouse bars to enjoy some hearty soup and sandwiches, or sink a Guinness or two while discussing the ups and downs of the day’s round. What follows is our week-long golf journey that begins at Dublin airport where we drive up the northeastern coast into Northern Ireland, head west along the Causeway Coast to the rugged Inishowen Peninsula and County Donegal back in Ireland, to play six top-drawer links...