GETTING THERE

British Airways (www.britishairways.com) fly to Cork and Shannon airport from London Heathrow. Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) flies from Stansted and Aer Arran (wwww.aerarran.com) flies from Manchester.

Ferries run from Pembroke or Fishguard to Rosslare then it?s a three-four hour drive to the south-west. Visit www.directferries.co.uk to compare prices.

WHERE TO PLAY

Fota Island has hosted the Irish Open twice and is a stunning modern championship layout. Money has been poured into the course over the past few years including a renovation of the greens and the overall condition is superb. The best hole is saved until last, demanding a tight tee shot between trees.

Cork is a mature parkland course redesigned by Alister Mackenzie in 1925 and provides the perfect contrast to the links of the west. Look out for the quarry walls on the 6th.

Located on a very steep, exposed peninsular jutting out 200 feet above the Atlantic Old Head has to be one of the most dramatic locations in the world to play golf.

There are three courses at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club and the Killeen, host to the Irish Open, is the signature course. The first hole is one of the most beautiful in the world playing alongside the tranquil lake before turning inland.

Set high within the national park Ring of Kerry is less than ten years old and enjoys spectacular views over Kenmare Bay.

The ragged coastline and the hummocky lies of the western coast make the perfect territory for links. To the north on the coast lies two very special tracks – Ballybunion and Tralee.

Dating back to 1889 Dooks is Kerry?s oldest club. Stretching along the dunes at the head of Dingle Bay the views are immense. The highlight of the course is the saucer shaped green on the par 3 13th .

Dingle is the most westerly in Europe and is worth going out on a limb to play. A traditional championship links course a burn winds through the course, ready to trip you up at every turn.

WHERE TO STAY

Fota Island is one of the hottest new hotels to open in Ireland. All gleaming glass and wood from the outside, the inside is reminiscent of a Colorado ski lodge with dark furniture and large fires. The spa and indoor pool are luxuriously decorated and the perfect place to unwind after a day on the course.

The Killarney Park Hotel is more old school. The service is excellent, the concierge knowledgable, the spa slick. The food and wine in main restaurant is to die for and the location great ? walking distance from the town centre.

OFF COURSE

Kinsale is full of high quality restaurants and gift shops. Try Fishy, Fishy. Killarney is Ireland?s second resort after Dublin and the gateway to the Ring of Kerry, a three hour twisting circular route along cliffs, through mountains and valleys of fairytale beauty.

Muckross House is surrounded by beautiful gardens has a working farm restored to its original 1930?s condition. There are wonderful walks around the lake here but prepared to haggle with the enthusiastic jaunting car entrepreneurs.

The Kerry Way is the largest footpath in Ireland and winds through spectacular scenery. For shopping the Killarney Outlet Centre offers good discounts for everything from golf gear to books.

CONTACTS BOOK

Visit www.killarney-golf.com for golf passports.

Old Head

www.oldhead.com

Ballybunion

www.ballybuniongolfclub.ie

Lahinch

www.lahinchgolf.com

Fota Island

www.fotaisland.ie

Tralee

www.traleegolfclub.com

Dingle

www.dinglelinks.com

Dooks

www.dooks.com

Ring of Kerry

www.ringofkerrygolf.com

Cork

www.corkgolfclub.ie

Killeen

www.killeengolf.com

Sheraton Fota Island

www.sheraton.com/cork

The Killarney Park Hotel

www.killarneyparkhotel.ie