Bucket List Golf Trip: Ireland Part 2

The drive to Balybunion Golf Club from the Killeen House wasn’t too bad and we had another great day of weather. They hosted the Irish Open in 2000 and they had just redone their greens… Great layout just super slow greens and no beer on the course. I decided to play automatic 2-putt since they were so slow. Fun caddy who was a good player, he asked me how much for the swing… We had a great time and the views were unreal again with incredible weather. This was Tom Watson’s favorite course and the 11th Hole was named Watsons, incredibly hard hole and guess who made it look super easy… (Not me!) If we were still staying at the Killeen House he would have earned a lovely bottle of wine! We had lunch at the clubhouse and the usual order of a clubhouse sandwich and a couple pints of Guinness. Today we walked 17,392 steps/8.17 miles. We headed off to Dromoland Castle, which was the home of the O’Brien’s. We stayed at the Inn, just on the other side of the golf course.  It had a ‘spa’, which was more like a turkish bath house, but did make our bodies feel better.

It was an incredible morning to wake up and find out the UW Women won the NCAA Championship! So fun to watch all the posts on social media of the amazing shots the girls hit and the excitement of extra holes. We had about an hour drive to Lahinch Golf Club which was the best just because they have goats on property that come into the shop and eat the plants. They even know how to make the automatic doors open. I had a wonderful caddy who had been a member there for 53 years… He also agreed with my new favorite drink of Jameson and ginger! Unbelievable track with more amazing views. Any golf course that has a full-time person to stand at the top of #4 to tell you where to hit over him is unreal. He even has a little hut on the top of the hill incase of inclement weather. Incredible weather as well and of course, we had another clubhouse sandwich with Guinness.  After golf we traveled to check out the Cliffs of Moher. They say it is the 8th wonder of the world!  It was truly beautiful but, holy bugs, they were everywhere and you couldn’t even open your mouth. Needless to say it was a quick trip, but at least we can say we saw the Cliffs. Today we walked 20,955 steps/9.9 miles.

After 5 rounds of golf in 5 days we had the next two off! Our drive to Dublin was about 2.5 hours on some actual freeways. We got settled in and got ready to go see ‘The Boss’, Bruce Springsteen at Croke Park with 82,000 other fans. It was unreal and he performed for over 3.5 hours straight! Simply amazing performance and a great way to see Croke Park. We walked 11,157 steps/5.28 miles. The next day we toured Dublin and enjoyed traveling on the Hop on, Hop off bus to see the city. We spent most of our time at Trinity College, having an Irish Coffee at The Bank on College Green and then at Guinness! It was a lovely day.

We had our last amazing breakfast at the K Club and then traveled about 30 minutes to our next destination – Portmarnock Golf Club. It was very challenging driving through Dublin, so many round abouts! We lost Greg and Monica and ended up at the Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links which was not the right place to be…we eventually made it through the gates and reconnected with Monica and Greg at the correct place!

Portmarnock Golf Club’s shop reminded us of home. We met the Rich Friend of Ireland… Joey Purcell was fabulous and has been the head professional for the last 27 years! He is retiring this October and looking forward to watching his son play for the UNC Tarheels next year. Such an amazing golf course with crazy history, everyone kept telling us women couldn’t play the course and that they will never host and Irish Open again because they don’t allow women, but it was the furthest thing from the truth… Women may not be able to be single members, but they can play for 1€ with their husband! Our caddy was a darling young man who plays lots of golf and has caddied for Rory McIlroy, Bill Clinton, Dustin Johnson and many others. It’s amazing how the caddy can make your experience wonderful or miserable. We definitely appreciated him and enjoyed playing Portmarnock.

Monica stuffed an 11 wood on #12 to about 2 feet and then did it again with Driver on #15! She made a combined 4 on those two holes while Griff made a combined 10 on those same two holes! It was very entertaining and we said “don’t count that” quite a few times! Golf is such a funny game. We walked 18,907/8.68 miles.

After the usual clubhouse sandwich and Guinness we drove to Newcastle, which is in Northern Ireland and they use pounds (£). It was about an hour and 45 minute drive through  beautiful countryside. We stayed at the Golflinks House where we could see Royal County Down from our room! They did all our laundry for 10£, which was an absolute life saver. Peter was great and we can’t wait to contact him next time we come back. Darling little town of Newcastle with so many cute restaurants and shops. Ended up finding a liquor store and a local version of KFC for dinner before our 36-hole day!

This was the one day that we were not playing with Monica and Greg. They were playing earlier at Royal County Down and we were not playing until 3:15 in the afternoon. We decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and check out another course. Ardglass Golf Club was a great track with spectacular views and a super fun course. It has the oldest clubhouse in the world, an old castle… The members were unbelievably kind and very welcoming to us. We even played a few holes with some members (President of the club) and got to hear a little history of the course. Crazy piece of land and yet again we had amazing weather.