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Great golf an easy drive from Dublin, Ireland

Brandon TuckerBy Brandon Tucker,
Managing Editor
Portmarnock Golf Club
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One of Ireland's most acclaimed links, Portmarnock is a short drive from Dublin International Airport. (Brandon Tucker/TravelGolf)

When you think Ireland golf, you generally think century-old golf courses and quaint historic towns far out in the countryside.

But if you're just connecting overnight at Dublin International Airport, or you're confined in the city center or at an airport hotel for a business conference, rest assured: There are plenty of good options for a quick, quality round of golf near Dublin.

The airport is northwest of Ireland's capital, just a few miles from the village of Portmarnock and its classic links. There are also courses on Bull Island in Clontarf, five miles north of the city center.

If you've got a little extra time, 2006 Ryder Cup host venue the K Club and the European Club are both within an hour's drive.

Must-play golf courses near Dublin

Portmarnock Golf Club: About eight miles from both the airport and central Dublin, this is the capital area's most acclaimed links.

Portmarnock G.C. was established in 1893, with a third nine added in 1971. With gentle dunes, it's a tough but fair layout that won't blow your lid off like some links gems, but is never dull either.

Portmarnock has hosted several international events, including the 1991 Walker Cup. Arnold Palmer made his links debut here, at the 1960 Canada Cup.

The membership plays a lot and public tee times are limited, so be sure to call in advance.

Royal Dublin: The Clontarf neighborhood winds along the bay and overlooks Dublin's port. From Clontarf Road you also have access to Bull Island, home to Royal Dublin, one of Ireland's oldest clubs.

Portmarnock Golf Links Courting comparisons by opening next-door to Portmarnock GC, this 1996 Bernhard Langer course comes off second-best in the mind of old-school locals, but it's no slouch. It's also about half the price.

Dublin golf's solid seconds

St. Anne's Golf Club: Located next to Royal Dublin on North Bull Island, historic St. Anne's started off as a nine-hole course in 1921. A second nine was added in the 1990s, and the clubhouse was renovated in 2003.

The course plays along a beach and a bird sanctuary.

Clontarf Golf Club: This convenient parkland option 15-20 minutes from Dublin's airport plays on rolling hills offering views into Dublin and the bay. The club was founded in 1912 and has been largely unchanged since 1927.

K Club: This five-star resort about 40 minutes west of Dublin in County Kildare is Ireland's hottest upscale golf club, due largely to its Ryder Cup star turn.

There are two parkland tracks here. The Ryder-hosting Arnold Palmer Course is the country's most expensive play. The sister Smurfit Course is a relative bargain.

European Golf Club: Thirty-five miles south of Dublin in County Wicklow, this modern links is a relatively easy jaunt thanks to the M50 motorway. The 20-hole Pat Ruddy design plays through tumbling dunes and is usually open to all golfers.

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K Club

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Golf in Dublin, Ireland

    Steve Maragakes wrote on: May 4, 2009

    Do any of the golf clubs in or near Dublin, such as Portmarnock or Portmarnock Hotel and links offer "rental clubs" ? My stay in Dublin will be for only one weekend, allowing only one round to play so I hope to avoid bringing my clubs. Will I have any luck ?