A Must-Stay For Golfers In Ireland
Golfers for years have been flocking to the iconic links at Lahinch, which will only add to its reputation in 2019 as they host the Irish Open this summer. Lahinch is a course that I did not care for at first, but to be honest, a lot had to do with my play and the extreme weather I faced the first few times I played there. However, the more I have played there, the course has evolved into one I really have grown to treasure.
Lahinch and the surrounding area in County Clare are “true Irish” and really give the visitor something authentic and unforgettable.
With that in mind, one of my “must-stay” villages in Ireland is just north of Lahinch along the coast, and that is the village of Doolin.
My First Visit
I can remember my first visit to Doolin in the early 2000s, which came at the end of a trip to Southwest Ireland with three buddies. We had finished a week on the links and I had only booked a last night’s stay in Doolin on my sister’s recommendation. She had said that it was a village full of musicians, packed pubs and travelers from across the globe.
After we wrapped up our final round at Lahinch, we made our way north about 20 minutes up the road. We turned left off the coast road and down to a junction where we saw a few buildings, but nothing clearly saying we had arrived. So we turned left, went by a few more buildings, a pub and then the road came to an end as we had arrived at the Doolin Pier.
A bit confused, we turned around and went past the junction to see what the other direction held. There were a few more buildings and we were about to cross past country pubs on each side of the road when my buddy yelled, “Hey, I think that is McGann’s!”
McGann’s was the pub and bed and breakfast where we were supposed to be spending the night. We pulled into the back parking lot and walked in.
The Calm Before The Storm
The pub was relatively empty, and we asked the barmaid if this was where we checked in. She grabbed the diary from under the bar, checked off our names and handed us the keys. After bringing us to our rooms, we re-convened in the bar, grabbed a pint and looked at each other with dismay.
“Should we stay here?” I asked.
“There does not seem to be much around here,” my buddy piped in.
We definitely were questioning whether we had made a good choice for our last night, but after some further discussion, we decided that we were pretty tired after a week on the links, so a somewhat quiet night couldn’t hurt.
Well, we were wrong in many ways.
Over the next few hours, people began to arrive and pour into the pub. The noise level rose, and the pints flowed. Around 9:45 p.m., musicians gathered in the corner of the pub and put on one of the best “mighty sessions” I ever witnessed.
As we had arrived so early, we had the best seats in the house of which we happily shared with a number of young lady teachers who had just come into the village from an island off the coast.
It was an epic evening that lasted well into the morning.
Since that first trip, I have made many visits back to Doolin and I always leave there with great memories and fantastic stories that truly have been some of the most memorable parts of the trips I have been fortunate to make over the years.
The town has changed a bit over the last 15 years with more holiday homes being built and a couple of small hotels popping up, but the town has retained its character and charm.
If you find yourself in County Clare during your next golf trip to Ireland, be sure to add a night or two in Doolin.