If you're looking for a destination that has everything - fantastic golf courses, great food, amazing hospitality then look no further than Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way...

Golf at the edge of the earth

The Wild Atlantic Way, the longest defined coastal touring route in the world stretching 2,600km from Inishowen in Donegal to Kinsale in west Cork, leads you through one of the world's most dramatic landscapes.

Fáilte Ireland

What the Wild Atlantic Way also includes is some of the best links golf you can find. Women & Golf visited the Island of Ireland to experience the depth and diveristy of golf, the natural landscapes, the hospitality, the food and, not forgetting, traditional music.

Women & Golf's Jane flew from London Stansted to Knock for a memorable 3-day trip. Below is her itinerary which gives you a flavour of what to expect if you follow in her footsteps.

Day One

Following a brief 90-minute flight from London Stansted to West Ireland Airport, we took a brief detour to Croagh Patrick mountain.

Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick mountain is nicknamed the “the Reek”, and is an important site of Catholic pilgrimage in County Mayo in Ireland. The mountain got its name from Saint Patrick who is the patron saint of Ireland.

According to legend, in 441AD, St Patrick travelled on his missionary expedition through Ireland to County Mayo and spent 40 days of Lent on the mountain. He fasted and prayed – following the example of Christ and Moses.

Saint Patrick is credited with driving snakes and demons out of Ireland from here. It is said he threw them all into Demon’s Hollow, a lake at the north base of Croagh Patrick.

As we discussed over coffee afterwards at the Tavern Bar, Murrisk, we could be confident there would be no snakes on the golf courses over the coming days! Oh, and the food was great.

The Tavern, Murrisk
Fivemile Town Goats Cheese Bon Bons
Pan-fried Cleggan scallops

Then the short journey to Westport to check in to our accommodation.


The Clew Bayi know weitd Hotel is a beautifully appointed 3-star hotel in Westport's town centre.

Westport is a genteel town but packs a punch. Lots of independent shops, bars full of locals and internationals and enough restaurants to keep you going for at least a couple of weeks!

A short check-in process allowed us to get to our rooms and relax. The double room was spacious with a large shower room. The room had ample space for a table and two chairs plus walled TV and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also has its own bar and restaurant, Maddens.

Maddens Bar
Dining room

Later in the day we headed out to the bustling high street and dropped in at the Cobblers Bar & Courtyard for dinner. And a few pints of Guinness!

The Cobber's Bar & Courtyard

Charm, folklore and character are not in short supply in this plush Irish Bar standing on the Octagon in the heart of Westport. Live music has long been associated with Cobbler’s Bar and we enjoyed the famous Sunday Night Session with our night cap.

Local Killary Fjord Mussels
Beer battered cod & chips
Red Thai Vegetable Curry

Day Two

After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, we headed off on the tour bus to Enniscrone Golf Club. You can see our route at the foot of the page (It's just over an hour travel time).

Enniscrone Golf Club


Originally designed by the great Eddie Hackett, Enniscrone Golf Club's reputation as a top class venue has been embellished with the addition of six new holes threading a path through the mountainous dunes. The new holes, expertly designed by famous course architect Donald Steele, add an exciting dimension to the 27-hole layout. 


Red tees - 5,723 yards, Par 73, slope index 127.

The tee at 12th
The dunes at 14th
The green at 14th

Enniscrone was a game of two halves for me - the dunes either side of the mid section (holes 5-11). The first four holes wandered through the quiet dunes and were a lovely introduction to links golf. But the open stretch between holes 5 and 11 was a real test. Big exposed fairways and three holes that ran along the beach (and Kilalla Bay) where the wind was with you and then against. Tough. Things calmed down after the 11th and then the course was a delight. Sheltered by the dunes but exposed on the elevated tees and greens, on many of the holes the green could not be seen from the tees. Which I always enjoy. My only gripe is that the red tees were in many cases a lot further forward than the whites/yellows and this sometimes meant you didn't get the elevated tee vista.

Image credit - Dan Hendriksen

Favourite Hole - 16th

The Long Bank

N.B. Best course guide/planner I've seen in a long time.

Day Three

After another hearty breakfast at the hotel, we headed off on the tour bus to Carne Golf Links. You can see our route at the foot of the page (It's around 1h 15min travel time).

Ballycroy (Wild Nephin) National Park
Mist & fog obscured our view of Nephin Beg on the drive up to Carne Golf Links

En route to Carne Golf Links we drove through the Wild Nephin National Park - covering a vast 15,000 hectares of uninhabited and unspoilt wilderness, it is dominated by the Nephin Beg mountain range. To the west of the mountains is the Owenduff Bog, one of the last intact active blanket bog systems in Western Europe.

One reason to revisit: Wild Nephin National Park showcases some of the darkest, most pristine night skies in the world and is officially certified as a Gold Tier standard International Dark Sky Park. The Mayo Dark Sky Park extends across the entire National Park, and on a clear night visitors can see thousands of twinkling stars, other planets in our solar system, the Milky Way and even meteor showers, all with the naked eye.

Carne Golf Links


The course features 18 amazing holes designed by the late Eddie Hackett, keeping true to his philosophy for respecting the naturally occurring landscape. Carne Golf Links was the last course designed by Hackett and many say it is his most challenging. The back nine of the Hackett 18 was integrated with the newer Kilmore 9 course, creating the Wild Atlantic Dunes course, which promises increasing drama as the holes weave their way through the awe inspiring corners of the dunes.


Red tees - 5,067 yards, Par 73, slope index 121.

I've been playing golf for 12 years and had the privilege to play many courses - parkland, heathland, links - but this has to be up there with my favourites. A course with a quiet serenity and more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie novel. I loved it. It's not in the greatest of condition but every hole is a joy to play. Dunes as high as a kite, bunkers as deep as a volcano, and sound of the ocean in the background. It's the course that keeps on giving. Carne's answer to the Khyber Pass - hole 8 - a highlight for me but all the holes are a treat - a mixture of dunes and sea views when you are on the highest parts of the course.

N.B. Don't go in the bunker just on the right before the 14th green. Treacherous and a card killer!

Day Four

After our final hearty breakfast, we headed to our final golf course of the trip - Westport Golf Club. And only a 5-minute drive from the hotel.

Westport Golf Club


Situated on the shores of Clew Bay in the shadow of Croagh Patrick, Westport Golf Club is the finest parkland golf course in the west and northwest of Ireland. The club was established in 1908 but has had three separate locations prior to settling at Carrowholly in 1973. During the 1960's, Lord Sligo of Westport House Estate (historic Irish landmark & well worth a visit) presented a proposal to the members of the golf club, to build a championship course on his estate. The offer was accepted and with financial assistance from the Irish Tourist Board, the dream became reality.


Red tees - 5,711 yards, Par 74, slope index 120.

10th hole

Fred W. Hawtree (designer of the New Course at St. Andrews) redesigned the current course in 1973. He said of Westport, “the nature of the terrain, part inland and part seaside, the panorama which it commands and its considerable golfing virtues, make it uniquely attractive and memorable.”

I wouldn't disagree with that. The first five holes at Westport represent a relatively easygoing start and a good warm-up for the challenge ahead. Holes 6 to 9 are tough with back-to-back par 5s on 7th and 8th.
Things become more interesting in the back 9. A great run of holes from the 12th to the 15th. The 12th and 14th holes are both very testing but scenic par threes with backdrops of Westport Harbour and Clew Bay on the 12th and Croagh Patrick on the 14th. The par five 15th was the highlight of the round. I took a chance off the yellow tee requiring a carry over an inlet of Clew Bay (the red tee was over the bridge). The hole doglegs left to an elevated green with the sea and out of bounds lurking along the left-hand side.

N.B. The 200-yard par 3 14th - take your driver!

The verdict

If only I could play in Ireland every week. So many courses so little time. They say it rains in Ireland and we did get drenched for five holes on the first day but were blessed with moving clouds and a little sunshine for the rest of the time. That's why they call it the Wild Atlantic Way!

The hospitality shown by the courses was fantastic and a big shout out to the following people who made our stay so memorable:

  • Keith O'Neill, General Manager, Enniscrone Golf Club +353 963 6297
  • Fiona Togher & Gerry Maguire, Management Team, Carne Golf Links +353 978 2292
  • Karen Walsh, General Manager, Westport Golf Club +353 98 28262

They will be delighted to host you and your friends on a future trip to the Wild Atlantic Way - please mention me.

The service at the bars and restaurants we visited was warm and welcoming and the Guinness is plentiful supply. Westport was an excellent place to base ourselves.

Nothing is too much trouble. They want you to have the best time possible, tell all your friends, and most importantly, return for another golfing adventure! We'll definitely be doing that.

It’s a ‘yes’ from the team at Women & Golf!

Here are the fast facts about the Wild Atlantic Way...


We stayed in Westport, which has fantastic links to West Ireland Airport (Knock) from Great Britain. Regular flights depart from London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, & Edinburgh.

N.B. The Common Travel Area, or CTA, is a special travel zone covering the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom (as well as the Isle of Man and Channel Islands). British and Irish citizens can, at least in principle, travel passport-free within the zone.

Car hire: A number of internationally recognised car hire brand names provide car hire services at Ireland West Airport - Avis, Budget, Europcar & Hertz.

Travel Time via car (approx.)

  • West Ireland Airport to Westport is 50 minutes
  • Westport to Carne 1h 15
  • Westport to Enniscrone 1h

Directions to the golf courses

Take a look at what Ireland has to offer visiting www.ireland.com/golf

Jane was a guest of Tourism Ireland & Failte Ireland on a British Golf Media trip to the Wild Atlantic Way showcasing the depth & diversity of golf in the counties of Mayo & Sligo.

Thought about taking the girls to Fuerteventura?