The Galway races are one of the major events of the horseracing calendar.
They usually take place the last week in July
(in 2004 they will finish on Sunday 1st August)
They are unusual in that they last for a full seven days, with some evening, and some full-day events.
The course itself is quite hilly, but compact with a ruined castle in the middle !
The facilities are excellent, although the popularity of the meeting means it is very difficult to get a hotel room during the week, and the roads get completely clogged up.
Admission is quite steep, at 25 euro on the two biggest days - quite a loss even before you start betting !
The course was also the setting for a massive Papal mass when Pope John Paul II visited Ireland in the 1970's.
Equipment: Bags of cash !
If you go on Ladies day - then enter the spirit and dress up.
Waterville is true links golf that dates back to around 1900. It is located along the Ring of Kerry, which is a driving route that shouldn't be missed when visiting southwest Ireland. This course was a favorite of Payne Stewart, who was an Honorary Captain of the club, prior to his untimely demise. There is now a bronze statue of Payne, which seems to attract everyone with a camera. The course itself requires accuracy, as the wind, the dunes and the goarse (seaside grasses and shrubs) are all there to challange your skills. This is a long and relatively difficult layout, and the fees are reasonable.
In preparation for an upcoming holiday on a ranch in Montana I was looking around for a place in Ireland where I could get familiar with the Western style of horse riding, and came across the Fossey Mountain Springs Ranch on the web. We weren't too sure what to expect when we sent out there, and were very pleasantly surprised. The owner has put a lot of work into setting up a wildwest style ranch, complete with a function room that is made to look like a saloon, where everybody just hangs out for a chat, or which can be used to host parties.
Michael, the owner, has the largest collection of Paint Horses in Ireland, together with a number of Appaloosas and quarterhorses. He practices "natural horsemanship", where the horse accepts you as the boss and is happy to do for you what you ask it to do, just by the energy that you project. He gave us a demonstration and made the horse trot and canter in a circle by just clicking his tongue and waving a rope at it. And when he stopped in the middle of the circle and turned his back to the horse, the horse would stop dead in its tracks and join up with him and stand shoulder to shoulder with him, and then follow him around. Absolutely amazing. Then we had to get into the corral and try to do the same thing, and of course the horse was nowhere near as obliging to us as it was to him, but we at least we got it to walk and trot, and it would come to us when we turned around, but stand a good bit away, rather than right next to us.
We really liked the easy-going atmosphere at the ranch, where you just go with the flow, and apart from teaching Western riding Michael also gives lessons in natural horsemanship and in rope work, or you can try your hand at archery.
We definitely had a most enjoyable day at the ranch, and will try to go out there more often in future.
There is a website, but with the focus being on working with horses rather than updating websites it is rather sparsely populated so far, and does not really do justice to the place at all.
Ireland has some of the most stunning courses in the World. There are several tour companies running golf holidays including Carr's. The course here at Birr is small but challenging. The featured hole in the photo is the number 10 which tees off over the entry road and gets norrower and narrower until you reach the green. Not much room for error on the approach!
Equipment: Everything can be hired when you get here however I would advise that you bring at least your golf shoes - not nice to have blisters on tour!!
Having taken two golfing excursions to southwest Ireland in the past four years, we found it much easier to establish our tee times before we arrived. SWING - South West Ireland Golf does a great job setting up the tee times for our foursome. Their charge is minimal - I think around 90 euro for setting up the whole week, but was worth every cent. They provided driving instructions from our rental house in Killarney and arranged a later tee time one day when our clubs didn't arrive on our flight. They are worth their weight in gold.
Mark in Oklahoma
A unique travel for couples and falimies is the tour boating by a badge in the canals and lakes of Ireland two hours driving to the east of Ireland.
Equipment: You only have to rent a badge and make shoping for food and drinks.
In September you will always have the Hurling/Camogie finals in Ireland. They take place at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin. When we visited in 2006, we were lucky to see the U21 finals and the Senior Camogie (women's) final. Absolutely fantastic atmosphere!!!
Hurling/camogie is a Gaelic sport and is a mixture of field hockey, baseball and "Eierlaufen" (balancing an egg on a piece of wood) - and it is supposed to be the fastes field game in the world. Those balls can speed up to 150 km/h - and they are fetched by the players at that speed! Fascinating indeed! If you have a chance, do go see a hurling game! It is absolutely worthwhile!
Hurling is a native Irish sport played upon a field with a leather ball and an ash stick known as a hurley or caman. Akin to lacrosse and hockey, hurling is much faster. Waterford is one of the fantastic hurling centers!
Sport is an integral part of Dublin life – Gaelic football, hurling, soccer and rugby matches all feature prominently in daily conversations in Dublin!
The centre of Dublin city is only minutes away from open countryside and has many activities to tempt all lovers of outdoor pursuits!
The mountains and Dublin’s coastline are within easy reach of scenic walks. Some of the sports activities on offer include: Sailing, Fishing, Windsurfing, Horse riding, Cycling, and Walking.
A great point to start is here > Dublin Sports&Activities
Equipment: whatever it takes
Spiritual home of Celtic games
The GAA claim this place, Croke (pronounced 'Crow') is the fourth biggest stadium in Europe. It's three tiers on the biggest stand certainly give it a dramatic feel.
Remember its Gaelic games here - hurling and Gaelic football - fast, furious and tough.
There is a museum here if you are into the history and a museum tour. You also get a chance to whack the slither (is that the right spelling ?)
Tickets are like gold dust for any big game - but you may get them if you nip in quick on the GAA website. If you get hold of some you will be going home to a heros welcome tonight!
Keep the ball in the fairway, and listen to your caddie. When you find your ball in the rough it looks like it is sitting up pretty good, you think you can hit the ball a long way.....WRONG...just knock it out into the fairway and take your lumps. It took me a whole round of golf to finally learn this.
With many golf courses in Ireland it is wise to start young. Here is my son aged about 7 years getting to grips with an iron, many local people play and the prizes are brilliant. My brother in law and nephew have won many nice items for the house.
Ventry is a great beach for surfing. But of course you need the wind...!! But anyway there are other watersports you can do in Ventry. And after a nice day on the beach you always can go to Quinns overlooking ventry harbour for a pint. Great view from there.
The Old Course at Lahinch is refered to as the "St. Andrew's of Ireland" or the "Home of Irish Golf", and dates back to 1892. It is a true links golf course playing through massive dunes covered with sea-grasses and shrubs, refered to as goarse. Lahinch is home to a couple of goats (see photo) - The story goes that if the goats are out on the course, the weather is favorable, but if they are hanging around the clubhouse, foul weather is in the air. I have played many of the championship links couses all around Ireland, and Lahinch stands out, to me, as one of, if not the finest and most enjoyable golf course in the country.
This is a newer course, designed by Arnold Palmer and opened in 1984. Once you step on the course, you will forget that, and realize you are playing a first class links course with spectacular dunes, ocean, and remnants of ancient structures all around. Some courses in the UK require that all caddies be members of the club, and Tralee is one. Not only does this mean that they know the course well, but also that they appreciate the contributions of the visiting golfer to the well-being of the club, and tend to be more attentive and helpful than a caddy simply out to make a few bucks. I would highly recommend playing Tralee on your next golfing adventure in southwest Ireland. It is very convenient to an area that contains Waterville, Ballybunion & Lahinch.
They have a great website - check it out!
More Regions in Ireland