Northern Ireland – Made for Golf

Lough Erne Resort

Arriving to Belfast City Airport, transfers were provided to Lough Erne Resort, approximately 1hour 45minutes aways. Those who arrived at Dublin Airport, travel time was 2hours 20minutes.

The drive up to Lough Erne Resort is breath taking. This luxurious 5-Star Hotel is nestled on a 600-acre peninsula in Enniskillen. Known as the gateway to Northwest Ireland. You get the feeling that you are driving onto your own personal island. The magnificent lodges of the Golf Village line the road as you drive down the lane to the main hotel. A grand entrance awaits you with open roaring fires warming up a very cold and blustery October day.

Lough Erne golf resort in Northern Ireland

I was able to slip away before dinner to experience their very own spa, a tranquil setting with the most beautiful mosaic artwork displayed at the far end of the pool. Thoroughly refreshed from my travels, we dinned in a private room in the Catalina Restaurant, they gave us first-class service and the attention to detail that you would expect from a five-star hotel. Local produce made an appearance on every plate, whilst a waiter talked us through the complexity of the dish. An elevated experience provided by the Lough Erne staff.

It is true that mother nature has left a beautiful mark here, the vast resort and in my opinion “the best” Faldo Course that I have had the privilege to play the following morning has been perfectly designed within the Fermanagh Lakelands. Adding to the surrounding, which is a tough task to take on, but Lough Erne have executed it perfectly.

Another exciting undertaking for Lough Erne, happening this month in fact, is that they will stage the PGA Europro Tour Championship from the 19th-20th of October. A televised event, reaching globally. What a way for Lough Erne to display their truly unique grounds.

Galgorm Resort & Spa

A resort I have been lucky enough to visit in the past. A perfect base for exploring Northern Ireland as it is about 35 minutes from Belfast, however, once there you might rethink leaving, I have! Having undertaken a slight renovation during the pandemic, like many resorts. Galgorm has expanded their thermal village, for me this is the main attraction of the Resort. So, as you can expect as soon as I checked in, I dropped off my bags and made a swift outfit change into Galgorm’s classic spa brown robe. I can assure you after visiting the Galgorm’s Thermal Village, any other spa will seem average in comparison.  

Galgorm Golf Resort for golf breaks in Northern Ireland

During our stay, we dined at Galgorm Castle Golf Club, an equally unforgettable experience. However, when it comes to dining at the Resort, Galgorm have you covered. First up you have the Gillies Restaurant, located in the main hotel, a bar, and grill style restaurant. Adjacent to the Gilles you have McKendry’s. A new addition to the resort, giving us traditional Irish lounge and bar vibes, hosting its own exclusive Whiskey Bar. I mean a lite fire, bustling chat and a fine whiskey, could the setting be any more perfect. Exiting the building, you’ll wander through a fairy-light lit courtyard until you stumble upon Galgorm’s Italian restaurant, Fratellis. Now, if you didn’t think they could add to your experience anymore, the hotel is also home to a gin library which holds over 300 gins! For those gin fanatics, grab yourself their local Galgorm Gin that can only be purchased at the resort.

If you can peel yourself away from the spa, Galgorm is a destination for those wishing to enjoy a golf break. No matter what the occasion, Galgorm offers golfers an unmatched experience on one of Ireland's finest parklands. Their championship Castle course is nestled in the heart of Galgorm Castle's historic estate. For two consecutive years they’ve hosted the ISPS Handa World Invitational. A one-of-a-kind event were men and women compete on the same course. I say, if its good enough for the professional’s its good enough for the rest of us!

Ardglass Golf Course

Last but certainly not least, Ardglass Golf Club. Although most golfers are drawn to this area to play Royal County Down, many of their best memories are made along the rocky cliffs of Ardglass, a mere 35 minutes down the road.

We however travelled from the Galgorm Resort which took us around 1hour 45 minutes by coach. Once you leave the castle, it’s a short jaunt to the first tee, passing some cannons on your way. A unique experience that continues on the course. From first glance we knew it was going to be a true test of golf to even the most skilled golfer. Whilst keeping your ball out of the Irish Sea is amongst your first swing thoughts of the day. The second hole doesn’t let up, a par-3 that plays along the edge of the clifftop, a favourite of mine as it was probably my best shot of the day and was kindly applauded by American guests playing a neighbouring hole.

Ardglass Golf Resort for Golf Breaks in Ireland

True to any visit to Northern Ireland, we experienced all the seasons in one day, with a beautiful rainbow appearing on our 10th and 18th hole. It was truly a picture-perfect experience, minus the waterlogged shoes and windswept faces but do you really expect anything else from links golf. Luckily in the clubhouse they had a roaring open fire to warm us up, a common sighting when traveling in this part of the world.

It really was such a pleasure to visit Ardglass, a place that holds a lot of history. Being the proud title holder of the world’s oldest clubhouse built in 1405, the pro shop is housed in an old castle. Also, home to former Walker Cup and DP Word Tour player Cormac Sharvin.