Even the Irish know that you don´t go someplace in Ireland just to visit, you go to experience it and bring back stories. Wherever you find yourself on the island, you quickly realize you are on a path of discovery that can fill you with warmth (regardless of the weather), nourish you with its diversity, exhilarate all your senses and even give a feel of mysticism.
¨There are no strangers here. Only friends you have not yet met¨. WB Yeats
A Dolmen (megalithic tomb)
While this blog is to discuss alternatives to golfing when you and your companions are taking a golf trip or on a golf weekend in (especially in NW Ireland), we can say that the above holds true even if you only have time to play a favourite course. —
Think about it. You know the people at the club always offer a friendly smile and probably a story or two; whether on a links, heathland or parkland course, the natural environment can surprise you with something different on each visit. Light in Ireland for example, may bathe you in a glistening. misty-white by the coast, highlight droplets on dewy grass like tiny Christmas tree baubles. or break like shards of glass through old oak trees. Then add how the fragrances vary, nature´s sounds differ and drip in slowly and even how the ground underfoot changes and spurs you forward at different speeds and you appreciate how such outside stimuli wonderfully work in tandum for your benefit.
Ballinamore GC by The Shannon-Erne Waterway
So, you see how it can be a great experience on the course. Then when you finish your game, you´ll feel the slow release of fulfilled sensations while coming back to a relaxed, warm state and you´ll probably dine on something lovely in the clubhouse that may include the very traditional and regional dish of Boxty ( For the culinary curious, see video on how to make boxty at the end of this blog post) and maybe some local beer.
Now you are refreshed and have a few golf`free hours to plan. If you want variation in your Irish Golfing Experience why not embrace local culture, arts, food and drink.
Pair your golf game with some of these offerings in Ireland´s scenic Northwest –
Most visitors to Ireland like to pair Irish brewed or distilled libations with their golfing experience, and if not doing this in a local pub (or tea room – as the Irish are very particular about their tea too), then doing so by visiting some old reliables like – Guinness Brewery or Jameson´s Distillery while in Dublin ( the latter also in Cork), or perhaps Old Bushmills which is just ´down the road´ from Portstewart Golf Club (host of the 2017 Irish Open) in County Antrim. These have, for good reason, been popular stops for many years, but how about a visit to a couple of the newer kids on the block –
– Carrig Brewing Company, making fine craft beer and *The Shed Distillery, makers of Gunpowder
Gin. Both of these companies are located in, as The Shed´s website puts it,
¨In deepest rural Ireland, on the edge of a lake in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim¨
* (Note: The Shed´s new visitor center will open in 2018)
Drumshambo, Leitrim & Other NW Locations
Boats on Canal, Ballinamore
OK, many of you are wondering where Drumshambo is and what golf courses are nearby. I´ll answer the latter shortly but let´s first begin by saying, Northwest Ireland, and indeed Drumshambo itself, boasts a natural untamed landscape, with great fishing, hiking trails, boating, music & most everything around has a poetry about it as confirmed by such writers and musicians as WB Yeats, John McGahern, Turlough O´Carolan & Mary McPartlan. In this part of the world you may encounter turf being made or, at the very least, being burned in a hearth in your local pub or B&B. There are waterways, trailways, fish & fowl. Drumlins and caves, high waterfalls to sandy coast.
In Drumshambo, Co. Leitrim and it´s neighbouring counties, you can fish or boat in Lough Allen, venture through the tunnels of Arigna coal mines, search for ancient dolmens, discover the abundance of local artisans, take in a night of traditional Irish music or, for something different, attend a cattle mart where the auctioneer’s hollering melds with the tension within & without the sheds.
Just wanted to add a quick note regarding marts; internationally renowned writer, John McGahern who was from Leitrim, was a frequent visitor to and seeker of material from Mohill Mart and one local shared the following after the writer´s death:¨While visiting Mohill Cattle Mart as a youngster, I frequently noted a man with a cap sitting high up on the steps above one of the sales rings. When I asked my father, he said, “That’s McGahern the writer. Everybody else comes here to look at the cattle; he comes here to watch the people.” Finbarr Kiernan
Yes, of course there are golf courses.
So, enjoy your golf but do take a little time and embrace new discoveries when you venture beyond the clubhouse.
Below are links to websites of interest and enjoy the video links to music from Drumshambo and a boxty cooking lesson.
But, to answer your golfer´s enquiring mind, there are within an hour´s drive of Drumshambo, wonderful links and gems of parkland courses – namely:
Click on the pins for more information.
1. Strandhill Golf Club (18 Hole Links) Co. Sligo – 55min
2. County Sligo Golf Club (Rosses Point)(18 & 9 hole Links Courses) Co. Sligo – 55 mins
3. Carrick on Shannon Golf Club (18 hole parkland) Co. Leitrim – 25 min
4. Ballinamore Golf Club (9 hole) Co. Leitrim – 25 min
5. Slieve Russell Hotel, Golf & Country Club (18 hole parkland) Co. Cavan – 45 min
Carrick on Shannon – 15 min
Shannon River Cruising
Ballinamore – 20 min
Sligo – 45min
All things Yeats (as in William Butler)
Wild Atlantic Way
Arigna Mining Experience – Co. Roscommon – 15min
¨This Energy Centre provides visitors with a unique insight into what coal mining life was like in the Arigna Valley, since its beginning in the 1700’s until closure in 1990.¨
Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark – Co. Fermanagh – 45min
If you want another and very different subterranian experience, visit the Marble Arch Caves set in an UNESCO Geopark with lots of other activities and above-ground sites, including The Cavan Burren.
John McGahern Library at Lough Rynn Castle Estate & Gardens – Leitrim
Discover Ireland – information on Ireland, her Happenings, Accommodation, etc.
Irish Whiskey Museum– Co. Dublin
View this video if you want to make boxty at home .