Northern Ireland golf versus southwest Ireland: What's the better links tour?
I’ve played about 20-plus golf courses in Ireland over two trips since 2006, and it’s pretty evident the two best pockets of links golf courses are Northern Ireland and southwest Ireland’s counties Kerry and Clare.
Yes, I’m slighting the northwest and Dublin-area links, which are both worthy of a tour of their own, but I think they’re better complimentary regions compared to these two heavyweights.
But what I’ve noticed after my most recent trip to Ireland in early October is that the southwest and north are two very different travel experiences.
Click here for my column on the pros and cons of southwest Ireland and Northern Ireland on TravelGolf.com and see the reasons why, and feel free to chime into the debate.
The new wrinkle in the comparison is that while southwest Ireland has historically been one of the most expensive pockets of courses, they’ve scaled back their prices in the last year and 2010 will stay low. Northern Ireland hasn’t reset their prices for a variety of reasons, so it’s actually the more expensive of the two (though the difference fluctuates because Northern Ireland uses the pound sterling).
Personally, I’d have to opt for the courses of Northern Ireland over the southwest by a nose, not only because of Royal County Down and Royal Portrush, but also the wonderful A2 Coastal Route, one of the great scenic drives in the world with such sights as Giants Causeway and the Dunluce Castle ruins among others.
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