David Brice, CEO of Golf International, reviews destinations on PGATOUR.COM that can be experienced by purchasing a package with Golf international, a leading provider of high-end international golf travel. For more information about this trip or any other of Golf International's destination trips, click here.
Everybody loves a city, but there's something especially intriguing about a European capital city that most of us find irresistible. Whether it's the excitement of the constant hustle and bustle they provide or perhaps the opportunity to experience another lifestyle for a while, these capitals have plenty of everything and something to match every taste. It's a chance to discover centuries of history and a different culture through the monuments, museums, ancient buildings and wealth of other sightseeing opportunities that are in plentiful supply.
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There will always be a myriad of new dining and entertainment possibilities and of course, shopping. From local markets to fashionable boutiques displaying the latest haute couture designs, to uncovering old treasures in antique shops, or looking for gifts to take home for family and friends, every European capital is a shopaholics delight, a haven for history buffs and a gourmet's dream come true. There are a million and one attractions, but golf isn't normally among them. Unfortunately, most European capitals are not golfer friendly at all.
London, Paris, Madrid and Rome, among others, are all surrounded by excellent golf courses, but with few exceptions, these courses belong to very private clubs that simply do not permit visitors. The members are not about to relinquish their valuable tee-times for any visitor, unless of course it happens to be a personal guest. So sorry folks, all of the tempting, world-class courses, conveniently close to most European capitals, are strictly, off-limits.
There is one notable exception to all of this, Dublin, Europe's most golfer friendly capital of all. Dublin is surrounded by an outstanding collection of over 30 quality golf courses that are not only accessible to the visitor but also conveniently located. Most are within a short 30 to 45 minute drive of the city center and all welcome visitors with open arms.
Staying at a hotel in Dublin and driving outside to play golf each day, is probably the best idea when non-golfers are a part of your group. They will have all of Dublin's endless attractions at the front door, with more than enough to entertain them while the golfers are out on the courses. And for any with plans to sample Dublin's vibrant nightlife, a center city hotel location is the only way to go.
An alternative idea is to stay at one of the golf resorts surrounding the city and driving into Dublin for a little sightseeing and evening entertainment. If it's a group of all golfers, the idea of staying outside of the city, either at or near one of the golf courses and going into Dublin for a little sightseeing and evening entertainment, will allow you to squeeze more golf into the trip and may have a greater appeal
At the top of any list of recommended Dublin area golf resorts must come The K-Club. You will pay handsomely for the privilege of staying in the opulent luxury of this 5 star hotel, but the Arnold Palmer course that hosted the Ryder Cup in 2006 is at the front door, together with a second championship layout, so it's well worth splurging.
A little less extravagant, but still distinctly first class is the Portmarnock Links Hotel, situated on the north side of the city. With its own excellent links course, designed by Bernhard Langer, there are several other championship links close by -- The Island, Malahide, Royal Dublin and Portmarnock Golf Clubs are all within a 15-minute drive.
Another very good hotel choice, 25 miles beyond Dublin's southern suburbs, is the Druids Glen Golf Resort, host to the Irish Open from 1996 to 1999. A second layout here, the Druids Heath Course, offers a totally different kind of challenge, so count on playing both.
Staying on the south side of Dublin also opens up the possibility of playing one of Ireland's top ranked links courses, The European Club. And don't overlook the classy parkland layouts located nearby, including Rathsallagh and Luttrelstown.
If you have chosen to stay at a hotel in Dublin and drive out to golf each day, the city's accommodation selection is enormous. From the very plush Merrion Hotel, the best in town, to modest Bed & Breakfasts and everything in between, the choice is yours. But do allow some time to explore this fascinating city.
Dublin has shed the image of being a quaint but sleepy town and turned into one of the liveliest in Europe. It still retains much of the Georgian charm that has always been Dublin, but new development is taking place everywhere, intermingling with the new and old in a style of its very own. Dublin remains a great historic city with strong links to world literature and the arts and there is plenty to keep even the most ardent sightseer busy.
The old city is best discovered on foot and a half day spent strolling from College Green to St. Stephens Green will reveal much of Dublin's rich past. Don't miss 16th century Trinity College, the impressive City Hall and Dublin Castle, dating from the 13th century.
There's Christchurch Cathedral, one of the city's finest historic buildings and St. Patrick's Cathedral shouldn't be missed either. Sightseeing is thirsty work, so along the way stop by Dublin's oldest pub, The Brazen Head (circa 1198) for a little refreshment.
There are allegedly some 800 pubs in town and every visitor needs to sample at least a few of them. Linger over a Guinness or two, meet the locals and soak up the atmosphere that makes these social gathering places special and so Irish.
And when the sun goes down, Dublin switches into high gear with nightlife as vibrant and varied as any place and it all goes on into the wee small hours. No wonder the Irish have never been considered early birds.
No matter which way you slice it, Dublin has it all, including fantastic golf courses, all with a huge welcome mat out for every visiting player.
For more ideas and suggestions on how to include Dublin's top golf courses in you trip contact the Ireland experts at Golf International by calling toll free, 1 (800) 833-1389 or, click here.
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