2017-11-01 / Health & Fitness

Exploring the greens on the Emerald Isle

MARK MOFFATT, PGA

In August a group from Shadow Wood Country Club explored the Emerald Isle, visiting world class links, natural wonders and historic landmarks.

In Dublin, we were treated to a guided walking tour by genealogist Sean Quinn, who gave the group a short history of the city from the early Viking landmarks to Dublin Castle, the seat of the United Kingdom’s government administration until 1922.

While also in Dublin the group toured the Book of Kells Exhibition housed in Trinity College. The Book of Kells contains a richly decorated copy of the four gospels in Latin text and is the centerpiece of the exhibit that attracts 500,000 visitors each year.

Another historic landmark we visited was Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison that opened in 1796 and held within its walls most of the key personalities involved in the struggle for Irish independence.

In Northern Ireland we visited the North Coast, often described as one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. While there the group toured the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle. And of course we had to stop and tour Old Bushmills (Whiskey) Distillery.

As for the golf, the weather was grand. We had only one difficult day at the site of this year’s Irish Open, Portstewart Golf Club. But we persevered and everyone finished their round. We also played Royal Portrush, future site of the 2019 Open Championship. The wind died down that day and the links were ripe for the taking, but alas, few advantages were taken.

Two of the most memorable courses were located in and around the town of Newcastle, in County Down. The first, Ardglass, was dubbed “Old Head of the North” because of its sea views at every hole. We had a bright sunny and blustery day. Our final round was played on the No. 1- ranked golf course in the world according to Golf Digest, Royal County Down. The course and the day did not disappoint. Seaside views and wild dunes abound with the Mountains of Mourne looking down upon us.

The people of Ireland we encountered were quick with a smile and to make you feel welcome. If we asked a stranger for directions we received a friendly and helpful reply and a smile. The Gaelic saying “cead mile failte” seemed accurate: Ireland is truly the land of a hundred thousand welcomes. Put a golf trip to the Emerald Isle on your bucket list. You won’t be disappointed.

Mark Moffatt is director of instruction at Shadow Wood Country Club. He can be reached at markm@swspotlight.com

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