More established is Knightsbrook Hotel Spa and Golf Resort set in 186 acres of parkland close to Trim, just 26 miles from Dublin, but it does have a new four-star hotel including a health club with swimming pool plus self-catering courtyard homes.

Another Christy O’Connor Jnr design, it’s challenging with several water features and it scheduled to host the Junior Solheim Cup in 2011. There is also a contemporary clubhouse with restaurant, locker rooms and impressive golf shop.

Both Lough Erne and Knightsbrook were luxurious and ideal with the course on your doorstep but the Four Seasons Hotel and Leisure Club in Monaghan Town also proved to be an ideal and comfortable base for golfers and those wishing to explore the surrounding area with perhaps a visit to Andy’s Bar and restaurant in Market Street while the Loft Restaurant in Navan is also worth checking out as is Joseph Tomney’s pub in the village of Moy.

It’s a pure delight also being part of a sprawling antique shop/market. Margaret Tomney, who runs the place, was born in the house and showed us the sink in which she used to bathe as a youngster. Her son and grandchildren also live there.

There are many ways to travel to Ireland, but we used the Holyhead to Dublin route with Irish Ferries on the Ulysses, surely one of the most comfortable ways to travel. After an overnight stay at the modern Morrison Hotel on Ormond Quay and dinner in The Church, a truly unique restaurant – it is a former church with the organ and magnificent wood and stained glass windows still in place – we returned using the Dublin Swift, the fast ferry which cuts the journey time considerably.