Titanic on Emerald Isle

Ireland is always worth travelling. And if you are lucky as we are now for more than 10 years you even don’t need an umbrella. After John and Justin from North and West Coast Links (wclgolf@iol.ie, +353-91-868642) advised and helped us again where to play we started in Dublin and once again at Portmarnock Links the Bernhard Langer Course (thank you Moira: mcassidy@portmarnock.com, +353-1-8666591). To be honest it was not as good in shape as we know it from earlier times. But the 13th is lengthened and the greens were vertilised so by the time you arrive it will be as good as it ever was and it is a great feeling to play near the ocean. Also the hotel is now refurbished. On the next day we played a must for Links Golf Fans: Portmarnock Old (thank you Jeff: jeff@portmarnockgolfclub.ie, +353-1-8462968). On the third day we played The Island. It was in very good shape and even with hardly no wind it is a challenge to play your handicap. (thank you Cathy: cathy@theislandgolfclub.com, +353-1-8436205).

Leaving Dublin and directing to Belfast we stayed at Slieve Donard Hotel, sitting like a castle at the beachside of Newcastle. Spacious rooms overlooking the Irish Sea and/or Royal County Down it is the place to stay (thank you Tom: tcotter@hastingshotels.com, +44-28-90674166 and Claire cedkins@sdh.hastingshotels.com, +44-28-43721018). Driving to Ardglass Golf Course takes you about 45 min. and every minute is worth it driving near the coast to a small picturesque village where at the end the course is located. The first tee is guided by old cannons and you drive along the Sea and the rough coast line. The Par 3 fifth is the shortest Par 5 in Ireland – try it yourself. What a fantastic rural golf course. Coming back to Newcastle the clouds were hanging deeply on the mountains. So we did not expect another sunny day at Royal County Down. You can’t be more English than the starter Stan who guided us the way down the first. And I bet you have not seen more natural bunkers than here. The very challenging course – the strong winds didn’t make it easier – is despite the high greenfees (RCD does not believe in discounts) strongly recommended. If you survived vitamin “G” it will strengthen you again.

Golf is not everything in life – do you agree? So we drove about an hour to Belfast and visited the brand new Titanic Museum. Did you know it was built exactly where the Museum is today? You can park right underneath and reach the spacious lobby with cafe and souvenir shop. Starting on the first floor you will learn and experience about the early 20th century and the industrialisation in Belfast. Forget about the famous movie, here you see how it was at that time and what an effort it was to built a ship like that even if it sank on the first cruise (thank you Alex: alexmcgreevy@titanicbelfast.com, +44-28-90766363). And if you are interested in architecture the Museum itself as a landmark is worth visiting.

So coming back to Ireland / North Ireland is no question, but time will be the issue. I hope you find the time. Please use all contact details to arrange your reservations and get one or the other hint what else you can see and discover “Craig-Factor” on Emerald Isle.