The best golf courses in Ireland and Northern Ireland in 2022

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Ireland and Northern Ireland? The green waves of Emerald Isle? A chilled pint of Guinness? Rory McIlroy?

One thing that should not be overlooked is the beauty of Irish and Northern Irish golf.

Éire has some of the the most breathtaking golf courses in the worldand golf week has compiled a ranking so you know exactly which courses you need to hit on your next golf vacation.

More UK Course Rankings: 10 best courses in Scotland | 10 Best Courses in England

This ranking comes directly from Golfweek’s hundreds of top reviewers for 2021 who continuously review courses and rate them based on our 10 criteria. They also drop a single overall grade on each course on a point basis from 1 to 10. These overall grades on each course are averaged to produce a final grade for each course. Only a handful of courses in the world are rated higher than 9, and any course rated 7 or higher presents an opportunity not to be missed.

For more lists of Golfweek’s top courses, check out the most recent selection of course rankings:

State-by-State Rankings for Public Access Layouts State-by-State Rankings for Private Courses Ranking of the Top 100 Public-Access Courses in the United States

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1 Royal Country Down (Championship)

County Down Royal Golf Club

Location: Newcastle, Northern Ireland

Course founded: 1889

Creators: George L. Baillie, Old Tom Morris, George Combe, Harry S. Colt, Donald Steel

Golfweek top rating: 8.95


2 Royal Portrush (Dunluce)

Royal Portrush Golf Club ahead of The Open Championship 2019. (Thomas J. Russo – USA TODAY Sports)

Location: Portrush, Northern Ireland

Course based: 1929

Creators: Harry S. Colt, Martin Ebert

Golfweek top rating: 8.53


3 Ballybunion (former)

The Old Course at Ballybunion (Getty Images)

Location: Ballybunion, Ireland

Course founded: 1893

Creators:Lionel Hewson, Tom Simpson

Golfweek top rating: 8.33


4 Lahinch (former)

The old course at Lahinch Golf Club (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Location: Lahinch, Ireland

Course based: 1894

Creators: Old Tom Morris, Charles Gibson, Alister MacKenzie, Martin Hawtree

Golfweek top rating: 7.89


5 Waterville

Waterville Golf Club in Waterville, Republic of Ireland (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Location: Waterville, Ireland

Course based: 1973

Designate: Eddie Hackett

Golfweek top rating: 7.53


6 Portmarnock (former)

The old Portmarnock course.

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Course based: 1894

Creators: Mungo Park, WC Pickeman

Golfweek top rating: 7.42


7 Former Head Of Kinsale

Former Head of Kinsale Golf Links (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Location: Kinsale, Ireland

Course based: 1997

Creators: Eddie Hackett, Joe Carr, Ron Kirby, Paddy Merrigan, Liam Higgins

Golfweek top rating: 7.41


8 pig’s head

Hogs Head in Waterville, Ireland (Courtesy of Hogs Head/Evan Schiller)

Location: Waterville, Ireland

Course based: 2018

DesignateRobert Trent Jones Jr.

Golfweek top rating: 7.19

9 The European Club

The European Golf Club in Brittas Bay, Ireland (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Location: Brittas Bay, Ireland

Course based: 1992

Designate: Pat Ruddy

Golfweek top rating: 7.18


10 Tralee

The 16th hole at Tralee Golf Club in Ireland (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Location: Tralee, Ireland

Course founded: 1984

Creators: Arnold Palmer

Golfweek top rating: 7.01


11 The Island Golf Club

The Island Golf Club in Donabate, County Dublin, Ireland (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Location: Donabate, Ireland

Course founded: 1890

Creators: Fred Hawtree, Eddie Hacket

Golfweek top rating: 6.92


12 Enniscrone

Enniscrone (Courtesy of North & West Coast Links Golf Ireland)

Location: Enniscrone, Ireland

Course based: 1974

Creators: Eddie Hackett, Donald Steel

Golfweek top rating: 6.90


13 Honorable Mention: County Louth (Baltray), Carne and Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg

County Louth Golf Club The 14th hole at County Louth Golf Club (Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)

A trio of Irish lessons JUST missed our top 10 list. The Baltray Course in County Louthoriginally designed by Tom Simpson and opened in 1982, hosted the Irish Open in 2004 and 2009.

Designed by Eddit Hackett and opened in 1992, Carne in Bellamut, Ireland should not be forgotten. Carne has also finished at T-13 on Golfweek’s top modern courses in Britain.

Tied with Carne is Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg. Designed by Greg Norman and Martin Hawtree and opened in 2002, Doonbeg is the second newest course on this list, behind Hogs Head.

Finally, we would be remiss not to mention the St. Patricks Links at Rosapenna. The new course is sure to be a fan favorite and will likely make future releases on this list for years to come.





Michael C. Ford