Top 5 Hidden Gem Golf Courses around Dublin and Ireland’s East Coast

Must play under-the-radar golf courses surrounding Ireland’s capital city


There are numerous courses which could fit into this bracket, such is the number of courses within a 40 minute drive of the city centre… but here are five to consider on your next golfing itinerary.

Royal Curragh

The Curragh Golf Club discovered proof in 2013 that it was the oldest club on the island. They used the opportunity to reinstate their ‘Royal’ prefix, thus giving a unique club a much higher profile.

Free-draining soil means play is possible 12 months of the year, but the spring/summer months see the gorse in full bloom. It is both alluring and a warning to the wayward. There is, however, space to play over these bumpy, heathland-like fairways and the changes in elevation mean every single shot is an adventure. The greens are natural and the course’s former greenkeepers – the sheep – were removed in 2012: today they are mere spectators.


Seapoint, right next door to Co. Louth Golf Club, has two very different nines: the front nine plays over gentle terrain, with trees, water and gorse defining the holes, while the back nine are lovely links holes, with the shapes and subtleties that make links golf such fun.

You’ll want to hit fairways and pay attention as the doglegs have to be respected, but Seapoint is not as tough as its neighbour and you can get away with more… which just makes this course all the more playable.

The final three holes run parallel to the beach and through the biggest dunes. The 17th is a fabulous par three while the par five 18th races straight towards the unpretentious but very smart clubhouse. High tee boxes add to the thrills.


Corballis is a highly popular links course next door to The Island. It doesn’t have the pedigree of its classy neighbour but let’s not forget that this is a public links, managed by the local council. It is the only such links in the country and it is a beauty. A par 66 (seven par threes, one par five) might mean it is short but it is also fun… and quick… and great value.

There are views to Howth and Ireland’s Eye, with the par three 4th and 6th offering two stunning tee shots towards the sea. Four new holes (4 to 7) were designed by Ron Kirby in 2009. They are the most thrilling but the entire course will entertain you. Facilities are limited.

Laytown & Bettystown

Laytown & Bettystown is laid out in a more traditional out-and-back links shape, where the 9th is at the farthest point of the course. There aren’t many such links courses on this island, so L&B has a rather special place in Irish golf. It’s located halfway between Co. Louth and The Island.

The start is rugged and testing with devilish fall-offs around greens, blind shots and unexpected hollows. Your short game will need to be razor sharp, as will your imagination.

The turn for home introduces wind and wider, flatter fairways so you can start swinging… and you’ll need to… as this is the longer nine, that culminates with the double-blind par five 18th.

St Anne’s

St Anne’s may not share the same reputation as its prestigious Royal Dublin neighbour, but it does share the same island. At five kilometres long, Bull Island came about thanks to the recommendations of Captain ‘Mutiny-on-the-Bounty’ Bligh, when he conducted soundings of Dublin Bay in 1800. These low bumpy dunes slap your ball all over the place and, with little protection from the wind, this is what makes links golf so challenging.

Holes offer a good variety of lengths and favour one of two directions – NE or SW – so when the wind blows you’ll know exactly what’s in store… and you’ll need a strong variety of shots and plenty of imagination. There is extensive bunkering, sweet greens and an excellent new clubhouse with attractive views over the city.

Dublin, unlike most capital cities, is surrounded by exceptional golf courses that are easily accessible. Some are well known, such as The Island, Portmarnock and The K Club, but many others, like the five above, go under the radar of most traveling golfers. They still however provide a fabulous golfing experience that’s arguably on a par with their more renowned cousins. Come to Dublin, stay for a week or two and explore. You’ll be amazed with what you find!

Request a quote if you are interested in playing any of these courses as part of your golf vacation with the expert golf travel company 

Kevin Markham

I am an Irish golf writer, blogger and photographer. In 2008, I traveled around Ireland in an RV playing every 18-hole golf course for a book entitled 'Hooked: An Amateur's Guide to the Golf Courses of Ireland'. Now in its 3rd edition the book introduces all 340 golf courses and rates the experience awaiting golfers. A second book, 'Driving the Green', is a light-hearted story of my travels. I loves golf… but just not all the way from the back tees. My blog can be found at