If Canada owes its reputation in the sporting world to hockey, in Ireland it’s golf. Even more so since it was selected golf destination of the year in 2004, hosted the Ryder Cup in 2006, and one of Ireland’s own, Rory McIlroy, dethroned Tiger Woods as the number one player in the world. While a small country, Ireland lists an impressive 400 golf courses, of which a third of the world’s links courses. As well, some quarter million followers of the sport are drawn each year to Ireland. Businessman Gilles Vézina and his friend Ronald Denis have tasted this bliss.
Vézina had already met Severiano Ballesteros, Charles Barkley, and Michael Jordan, three legends of sport. During his tour in Ireland, he shook hands with none other than Rory McIlroy. The two Quebecers were enjoying the trip of a lifetime. They purchased a premium tour package with Carr Golf and played rounds on eight of the 10 most beautiful courses in the land of Bono and Pierce Brosnan. “We saw the country, stayed in castles, and savored delicious food,” says Vézina. “We were treated like kings. It was simply amazing, the design, features and diversity of the courses.”
As an option, the package provides for a private chauffeur to take care of everything for you. And for those who desire the ultimate, arrive each day to play at a different club … by helicopter! “The landscape of the south with its steep cliffs is magical! I will never forget the road which hugs the sea, the spectacular ‘Ring of Kerry’!” One of the unforgettable memories of our two Quebecers was the Old Head Golf Links, overlooking 125 meters of cliffs and the sea, the bunkers often three meters deep. The club is private, but as is the case across Ireland, hours are set aside for non-members. “Other memorable places were Royal County Down in the Bay of Dundrum, the K Club near Dublin, where the clubhouse is a real castle, Ballybunion and Doonbeg,” recalls the native of Laval.
June is a good time for travelers as it enjoys the longest days and most sunlight of the year. Enthusiasts can play 36 holes a day if they so wish.
Guillaume du Bellay in the 16th century wrote: ‘Happy is he, who like Ulysses, has made a beautiful trip.’ Ireland fuels excitement equal to that of an amateur with a chance to see… Rory McIlroy.
in collaboration with Gilles Vézina
Old Head Golf Links
Royal County Down
Rory McIlroy and Gilles Vézina
Lahinch Golf Club
Photos: Carr Golf et Gilles Vézina