Rathmullan House Donegal – A Spectacular Golfing Hub
Perched in among the trees beside the beautiful Lough Swilly in County Donegal, a historic country house can claim to be one of the worlds most spectacular hubs for visiting golfers. Rathmullan House, which is a member of the distinguished group of historic hotels and country houses, ‘Ireland’s Blue Book’, is famous for its welcome and fantastic service. With a beach at the bottom of its garden, award winning food and luxurious bedrooms, this hotel has long been held as one of the finest in Ireland.
With 3 of Irelands finest links courses within travelling distance from the hotel, Rathmullan House offers a central hub for the most spectacular golf transfers in the world. This may seem like an unusual claim so Green Golf Travel went to have a look.
Accommodation at Rathmullan House
Staying at a hotel such as Rathmullan House has that feeling of relaxed luxury and informal quality. Everything about the place oozes class and experience from the warm welcome to the well-oiled dinner service which runs like clockwork with what seems like minimal effort. For golfers who are looking for an informal option, the Tap Room which is in the old cellar of the hotel, serves the local craft ‘Kinnegar Beer’ along with some of the finest pizza we have sampled anywhere. All of this before a good night’s sleep will have you raring to go for the golf ahead.
Rathmullan House to Portsalon – Journey Time 25 Minutes
Portsalon Golf Club is currently ranked as number 22 in Irelands Top 100 golf courses. This lengthy and challenging links layout was redeveloped in 2000 with major investment making it one of Ireland’s finest and most challenging golf courses. The tee shot at the second of Portsalon is surely one of the most spectacular in Irish golf with the dog leg left hit across the bay before a challenging long iron over a stream in front of the green. This hole, like most of the course, is not for the faint hearted and played into the wind is an absolute beast!
The journey to and from Rathmullan House is almost as impressive as the course itself. From Rathmullan House you make your way along the windy roads leading towards Fanad. As you begin to make the ascent up a sharp hillside, the anticipation of what awaits at the top of the climb builds. You will not be disappointed as you reach the top of Knockalla with the view over Ballymastocker Bay widely photographed and appearing on tourism publications around the world.
There are so many points to stop and admire on the journey from Rathmullan to Portsalon, you are at risk of missing your tee time so make sure you leave plenty of time for photo opportunities!
Rathmullan House to Rosapenna – Journey Time 45 Minutes
The anticipation of what awaits on day two of your golf trip in North Donegal will have been heightened after the spectacular events on day one. You will not be disappointed when you arrive at Rosapenna for a round at Sandy Hills, the number 24 ranked course in Ireland.
Opened in 2003, Sandy Hills has cemented the position of Rosapenna as Irelands finest resort with hotel and 2 links courses on site. Those spending a week in Donegal would certainly be advised to make Rosapenna their base in a 2 centre stay including Rathmullan House.
Sandy Hills is again a challenging layout with wayward tee shots rewarded with almost unplayable lies in the sharp dunes. As the name suggests, the course weaves its way through the hills and dunes and offers spectacular views of Sheephaven Bay. The sixth hole in particular sticks in the memory with Mount Errigal prominent in the background as you hit your second from the raised fairway.
Your trip to Rosapenna from Rathmullan House will see you follow the same route from day 1 over Knockalla and you can admire the spectacular views for a second day. The extra 20 minutes on the journey will not be an issue as you find your way from the Fanad Peninsula to the Rosguill Peninsula. Mulroy Bay separates these two stunning areas and the Harry Blaney Bridge allows you to span the two with panoramic views which take the breath away.
Rathmullan House to Ballyliffin – Journey Time 55 Minutes (By Ferry in Summer Months)
Many golfers would consider the Glashedy Course at Ballyliffin to the jewel in the crown of golf in Donegal. On first observation, it seems that Lough Swilly gets in the way of any intentions to play Ballyliffin while staying at Rathmullan House. This is not the case in the summer however as the ‘Lough Swilly Ferry’ makes the journey one of the most spectacular golf transfers in the world.
Boarding the ferry from Rathmullan Pier, you can step out on deck, stretch the legs and travel across Lough Swilly with spectacular views of Fanad Peninsula and Inishowen peninsula on either side. It has been known during the summer that the ferry is joined by playful dolphins eager to impress passengers making the crossing. This video gives a hint of what you might find while crossing the Swilly:
Dolphins on Your Journey to Ballyliffin
On arrival in Buncrana, you have a short 20 minute drive to Ballyliffin which will feel like much less as you discuss the round ahead at one of Ireland’s finest links courses.
Ballyliffin Golf Club boasts two world class courses with the Old Course ranked number 18 in Ireland and Glashedy currently ranked 11. Sir Nick Faldo came across the hidden gem that was the Old Course in the mid 90’s and proclaimed it as the best links course he had played in Ireland. The six time major winner has since put his stamp on the course with his input on major improvements to the Old Course in 2006.
The Glashedy links which opened in 2002 is one of the most spectacular and challenging links courses in world golf. From the back tees it measures over 7,200 yards and there is sure to be a European Tour event here at some stage in the coming years. This course is the ideal place to end your golf tour in Donegal before you head home to tell your playing partners about the best kept golfing secret in Ireland.
After all of this golf and taking the breathtaking scenery of Donegal, a well earned pint of Kinnegar Beer in the Tap Room at Rathmullan House will round off the trip nicely.
Green Golf Travel is the premium Golf Tour Operator in Donegal. We arrange self drive packages or private transfers based on your requirements. We will guarantee the best value and highest levels of service for your trip to Ireland. If you would like a bespoke package put together, enquire here.
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