Wicklow, Ireland’s Garden county is renowned worldwide not only for its beautiful landscape of magnificent mountains, beautiful beaches, lakes and glens but also for its world class parkland and links golf courses. Just thirty minutes south of Dublin are some of the best golf courses in Europe.
Druids Glen, Powerscourt, Dun Laoghaire, Delgany, Wicklow, Macreddin,
Woodenbridge, Arklow and Pat Ruddy’s fabulous European Club are just a few to wet your appetite.
Mystical Druids Glen with its manicured tree lined fairways and immaculate greens is one of my own favourites. Some call it Ireland’s Augusta. There are many magnificent features around this course including an ancient Druids altar that looks down on the12th green. Druids Glen G.C. has hosted the Irish Open for four years in a row and the prestigious Seve Trophy. The resort’s second course is Druids Heath. The two courses are very different but equally as challenging.
Just down the road is Delgany Golf Club. A fabulous golf course with its tree lined fairways and tricky greens will prove a test for any golfer.
Don’t be surprised if you come across some magnificent deer roaming the fairways or peaking out from the trees.
Delgany is one of the only two golf clubs in the world, the other being Balmoral Golf Club in Belfast to have produced four Ryder Cup players. Harry Bradshaw, Jimmy Martin John O’Leary and Eamon Darcy. Balmoral’s players were Fred Daly, David Feherty, Norman Drew and Eddie Polland.
To mark this unique association and to honour the Ryder Cup players both clubs came together before this year’s Ryder Cup for a day of golf and celebration. The inaugural bi annual event was hosted by Delgany G.C. and won by the host club. In two years time The Ryder Cup 8 Trophy event will be played at Balmoral G.C.
Dining out at any golf club restaurant in the garden county you can be sure of great food. We had a superb lunch at Wicklow G.C. the catch of the day was fresh Turbot served with locally grown vegetables, washed down with a very nice Chardonnay. Feeling very relaxed we lingered a little longer enjoying the views from our table across the rolling coastal fairways to Irish sea. What better way to spend an afternoon after a round of golf.
What ever your interest be it golf, cycling, walking, fishing or site seeing. Wicklow has something for everyone.
One of the most popular and fascinating must see attractions are the pre-historic monastic sites at Glendalough. The early Christian monastic settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century from this developed the “Monastic City”.
Wicklow has the largest national park, forest land, the highest waterfall the largest mountain area and man-made lake which is the source of the River Liffey.
There are many beautiful walks through the oak forests, along the
lakes shores and up into the mountains.
Along the trails you are very likely to see some of Wicklow’s beautiful wild life. A large population of sika deer roam the hills, there are herds of feral goats, native red squirrels, pine martins, badgers and magnificent peregrine falcons.
Other places of interest are the magnificent gardens at Powerscourt, Russborough House and the famous Avoca Mill, store and cafe.
If interested in Irish history then I strongly recommend a visit to Wicklow’s historic gaol. A guided tour, audio headsets and parking are included in the ticket price. You can wander through the cells and dungeons at your own pace but beware it is said to be haunted. I didn’t encounter any ghosts but the experience was haunting, educational and entertaining.
There are many excellent hotels from luxurious five star to wonderful guest houses in this part of Wicklow. We stayed at the Parkview, a 3 star hotel in Newtown Mount Kennedy. Its location was great for getting to and from the golf courses we were playing and for visiting Wicklow’s main attractions.
For further information on accommodation, golf courses, restaurants, local attractions visit: www.wicklow.ie
Caption: Balmoral Captain Eamon Mullany with Delgany Captain Jason Bradshaw