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Exploring Ireland: Where to golf, drink and stay on the Emerald Isle. Pt. 3. Spanish Point Golf Club, Clare

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In these series of articles, I will be taking you around the Emerald Isle providing you with great golf courses to visit in some of the loveliest spots in Ireland. I’ll also be highlighting the best and most authentic Irish bars in these spots, as well as places to stay, eat and how to get there. Whether you’re taking a golfing holiday to Ireland in 2019 or are interested in doing so sometime in the future, I’ll make sure to let you in on the best places to spend your time.

In Part Two of our Exploring Ireland Series, we focused on the north-west of the island, taking the trip to County Donegal and showcasing the Old Tom Morris Links. Now it’s time for Part Three, and we’re staying along the “Wild Atlantic Way,” and heading down along the coast and into County Clare.

Clare is easily one of the top destinations in Ireland. The county is home to some of the best scenery in the country, with one particular natural wonder drawing well over a million visitors each year. Along with its incredible sights, the county is of course home to some of the top golf courses on the island and is a contender for the best destination in Ireland for traditional music, with a multitude of bars hosting live music sessions each night of the week.

Spanish Point Golf Club, Clare

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While Trump Doonbeg and the host of next year’s Irish Open, Lahinch Golf Club, often grab all of the headlines for courses in Clare, they aren’t the only options. Diverting away from those well-known spots, my recommendation for a day out on the links in this area is at Spanish Point Golf Club.

Spanish Point is a real hidden gem out west. The track is a nine-hole course that took the title this year for “Best 9 Hole Course in Munster.” The course opened in 1896, and sits right on top of the Spanish Point beach, offering spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

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The course itself plays for 18 holes as a par 68 and stretches over 5,000 yards. The course is mostly flat and exposed to the elements, and being right on top of the Atlantic Ocean, there’s an extremely high chance that should you tee it up here then every single facet of your game is going to get tested. Don’t be surprised that if the wind howls you find nine holes more than enough!

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The star of Spanish Point is its greens. Wonderfully maintained, vast, and protected by deep classic links-style bunkers, these greens are a joy to putt on. So if you’re not rolling the ball well, it’s more than likely all on you!

Regardless of how you’re playing though, the greens of Spanish Point are a perfect viewing point to take in the breathtaking views on offer.

Eighteen holes around Spanish Point will set you back just over $20 during the week, and a little over $25 on the weekend. Which, in my opinion, is an absolute steal.

Food & Drink – Gus O’Connor’s Pub, Doolin

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Just like it was difficult to choose only one golf course to showcase in Clare, separating the pubs is not an easy task either. A 30-minute drive from Spanish Point may sound a little inconvenient, but when you get to the small village of Doolin, then you will be thankful that you took the time to get to this little haven.

A small village just north of Spanish Point, Doolin boasts three of the best bars in the county, a “triple-crown” of bars if you will. McGann’s and McDermott’s are definitely worth a visit, but Gus O’Connor’s is an absolute must to while away an evening out west.

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Open since 1832, Gus O’Connor’s will provide you with an incredibly atmospheric evening. The bar looks tiny from the outside, but there is plenty of room inside. One word of warning, however, is that should you wish to spend a night out here then arrive early, as it fills up fast.

Live music is Doolin’s game, and at Gus O’Connor’s you will find it every night of the week. Sessions begin at 9 pm each evening and go on until late. Some of the best musicians in Ireland play here, and you can expect to hear the great sounds of fiddles, flutes, violins, guitars and bodhrans playing throughout the night.

A few years ago, locals at Gus O’Connor’s were even lucky enough to hear actor John C. Reilly belt out Ireland’s greatest drinking song “The Wild Rover.”

Gus O’Connor’s also serves up a full menu of typical Irish traditional food. Here you will have the perfect opportunity to sample the Irish Classic, Beef and Guinness Stew, which of course needs to be washed down with a pint of the black stuff. Another option worth considering is the Doolin mussels steamed in white wine.

Where To Stay

If you wish to stay in Doolin, then you’ll have plenty of great little hotels and lodges to choose from, with the price of a double room usually ranging from $65-$100 a night. My recommendation is the Doolin View B&B, which is within walking distance of all the bars. For around $85 you’ll get a lovely double room, with a full Irish breakfast included for the next morning to keep you going for the day.

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A 15-minute drive from the village of Doolin will take you to that natural wonder I referenced earlier. The Cliffs of Moher are arguably the finest attraction on the entire island. The sea cliffs run for 14 kilometres, and at their highest point, they rise 702 feet above the Atlantic ocean. As impressive as the cliffs are in photographs, to experience them in person is a special event and something that you simply must take the time to do if you’re in Clare.

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Another great option if you’re in this area is to take the ferry for a day trip to the Aran Islands. Home to 1,200 people whose primary language is Irish. Don’t worry though; they also speak English. The Bronze and Iron Age forts are there to be explored on the island, and the best way to do so is by hiring a bicycle, as the speed limit for cars is 31mph on all roads on the island.

How To Get There

The area is a three-hour drive from Dublin, but just one hour away from Doolin is one of Ireland’s three international airports, Shannon, which provides you with a great location to explore the west coast.

 

 

 

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Michael Alonso

    Feb 7, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    By far, my favorite part of Ireland. My wife is Irish so I’ve had the benefit of visiting her family over there probably a dozen times. Doolin is my absolute heaven. Glad you recommended Spanish Point. I’ve only been able to play the castle course at Lahinch (the links course was booked both times we were going to play), but it’s nice to know there’s another great option. O’Conner’s is an absolute GEM of a pub! Cheers!!

  2. Bob Pfeifer

    Dec 19, 2018 at 8:57 am

    What complete and total a** hole and absolutely poor excuse for a human, gave this article a “shank”?
    Get a life!

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19th Hole

The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (2.21.20)

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In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case you aren’t already, there’s a whole load of action going on at our page, so follow us: @golfwrx

Let’s get to it then, here are six of the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

Throwback to Bettinardi’s first wedge from 18 years ago.

“Frank” Tiger Woods Putter Cover from MSquare.

Rory’s clubs that have him top of the leaderboard in Mexico.

New from NCW Putters.

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Because beautiful is how I feel.

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Is this blade a winner from Tyson Lamb, WRXers?

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That brass tho. #TbT

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Tiger Sunday Red from Embrace Putters.

Get hashtagging your golf posts #GolfWRX for your chance to feature in our best of Instagram posts in the future!

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19th Hole

Titleist responds to USGA and R&A’s Distance Insights Report

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Titleist has responded to the USGA and R&A’s ‘Distance Insights Report’ saying in-part that the governing bodies are focusing too much on the men’s professional game, and are undervaluing the skill of the game’s elite.

In a written statement titled “A Perspective on the Distance Insights Report”, David Maher, CEO and president of Titleist’s parent company, Acushnet, wrote

“We believe the conclusions drawn in this Report undervalue the skill and athleticism of the game’s very best players and focus far too much on the top of the men’s professional game and project this on golf and golfers as a whole.”

Maher stressed that the current equipment regulations are sufficient in halting any significant increases going forward by the longest hitters in the game, and believes that any changes implemented that could see a local rule put in place, would be a wrong move.

“The existing equipment regulations allow professional and amateur golfers to play by the same unified set of rules, with the same equipment, and on the same courses. We believe that playing by a unified set of rules coalesces our game, is an essential part of its global understanding and appeal, and eliminates the inconsistency and inability that would come from multiple sets of equipment standards.”

The use of technology to bring younger people into the sport and aid the longevity of golfers was also highlighted by Maher who said

“Golf is bringing younger players into the game sooner and keeping older players longer than ever; professional golf is as dynamic and entertaining as it’s ever been; and the game remains a healthy challenge for all players and at all levels.”

Read the full written statement here.

 

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19th Hole

The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (2.20.20)

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In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case you aren’t already, there’s a whole load of action going on at our page, so follow us: @golfwrx

Let’s get to it then, here are six of the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

Look out for this awesome headcover from Dormie Workshop in Paul Casey’s bag this week in Mexico!

New Mizuno drivers.

Studio Select NP2 restoration from Embrace Putters.

Another great looking job from The Golf Garage.

New in the bag for WRX’s Editor-In-Chief.

Bettinardi showcasing its “Copper Candy”.

Get hashtagging your golf posts #GolfWRX for your chance to feature in our best of Instagram posts in the future!

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