Many golf course across both the North and South of Ireland have seen an influx of golf visitors wishing to take advantage of visiting The Emerald Isle during an Open year and also to enjoy the ‘craic’ in the hotels, resorts and many towns that our golf courses are situated on or close to.
The number of visitors to these shores have now more access to golf courses and golf resorts than ever before. Coastal links and Parkland golf courses offer beautiful and challenging tests in equal measure.
One notable golf resort is the Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort. We had the pleasure to visit it recently, and we loved it. Here’s what we thought and our top five reasons to visit it.
1. The Hotel – A spectacular setting on Blessington Lakes
Just forty-five minutes outside Dublin City Centre, Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort is one such resort that now strongly appeals to accommodating golfers and visitors who want to take advantage of their stunning landscape. The hotel offers 90 deluxe guest rooms and three self-catering lodges.
We booked a suite for this trip, and it was very generous. A large living room with immaculate kitchen facilities led into a large bedroom with ensuite bathroom and shower.
We also had a balcony that looked on to the patio bar below and further overlooking the lakes and golf course. We could gaze right down the 18th hole, and it really made us look forward to our game.
It has benefited from investment in recent times, and so the resort is now keen to compete with other resorts in the Greater Dublin area.
Situated in County Wicklow with beautiful views across Blessington Lakes, the 18-hole Championship course blends the natural landscape with inspired features to create a stunning and challenging golfing layout.
When we visited during a lovely summer weekend in August, Jim Murphy, CEO of Prem Group told us more about recent developments at the resort:
‘There has been a lot of changes since we hosted the Irish Seniors Tournament here in 2000. We created a new Clubhouse with a car park specifically for golfers. That opened this year.
We also built an extension to the driving range and plans for a larger practice facility are all in the pipeline.
This is the second year of Tulfarris hosting the Euro-Pro Tour Irish Masters, and we wanted to bring the lake more into play. The 16th hole par three does that so offers a real challenge’
2. Elk Bar and Lime Tree Restaurant – A chance to sample some local produce
Once checked in, we visited the recently refurbished Elk Bar, which leads out to a large drinks’ patio overlooking the golf course.
Live sport on multiple TVs around the bar area with a dining area to the right as you come in, allowed for a more relaxed dining environment if the Sunday game at Croke Park wasn’t your thing.
Dinner and breakfast were served in the Lime Tree Restaurant. The restaurant is based on the first floor of the hotel building and takes advantage of the views with large windows overlooking the golf course.
Our evening meal was delicious. The menu for that included locally sourced beef and fish, Wicklow lamb and Thornhill duck breast, all accompanied by a great wine and drinks list along with stunning views of a still summers’ night in County Wicklow.
Breakfast was equally as good. Plenty of bacon and sausages along with fresh cereals, fruits and bread, all served looking out at the golf course and lakes.
As keen golfers, we knew a great breakfast is a must before we hit the fairways!
3. Tulfarris Golf Course – Beautiful scenery and a testing layout
You can see there has been good investment in the facilities here. The clubhouse is new and has everything you need. Shoes, clothes, balls and snacks are available to buy, and buggy’s and trolleys are available to hire for a round.
It has a lovely outdoor patio if you want to have a coffee before you go out and play.
The practice facilities are right there too with the driving range and practice area all within fifty yards. And all very close to the first tee box.
The course is magnificent. Fast greens, great Lake views and a course layout that works back and forth to the hotel, offers a fantastic track for any handicapper. As it’s surrounded by the lakes, the water views give many holes a unique landscape.
On our way to the new clubhouse which is around two hundred yards from the main hotel, we got a chance to speak to Simon Thornton. Simon is Tulfarris’ Touring Golf Professional and a previous European Tour winner. He echoed the compliments about the course:
‘I have lived in Ireland for many years as I originally worked at Royal County Down Golf club in Newcastle County Down.
When I came here nearly two years ago, what attracted me was the quality of the golf course. I came on board to help with the golf development, and I’m delighted to see the investment in both the hotel and the golf course. It’s been a complete regeneration to date, and we are looking forward to doing some further work on the course’.
The first hole took us down a generously wide fairway, and as we got to the green, the water immediately came in to play. The second, a short par 3 – used the full lake as it was enclosed on three sides by deep water. This is a real test.
The holes take us back and forth from the hotel, so it’s nearly always in view. The tenth tee has a wooden cabin that offers free tea and coffees for golfers at their halfway point.
The redesigned signature par three 16th hole is every bit as beautiful as Jim and Simon mentioned. With a tee box jutting out against the lake, you must steer an excellent long iron into a tough green across the water. There is a beach on the left and deep rough on the right to catch anything wayward.
The final three holes are very memorable. The 17th is a fantastic par four with a sharp dog leg left over a mini lake. We can’t stress how good the greens were. The final hole takes us back to the Elk Bar of the back of the 18th hole.
While everyone sat and enjoyed a drink on the terrace on a warm sunny Sunday afternoon, my playing partner tried his best to negotiate a five iron across the water to the raised green after a great final drive. Anyone would take par on this hole, including us!
With the waft of lovely bar food coming on to the green, it was time to count the scores with a pint of Guinness as we enjoyed our final few hours at the resort before going back to the world.
Make sure to check out the Pizza on the terrace special as it really hit the spot after our round of golf.
4. While you are in Wicklow – There is plenty to see and do
As well as golf, the tranquil setting of the hotel offers tennis, walking trails, Archery, kayaking, and bike rental, so there is something to do for all the family if golf isn’t your thing.
In the local area, The Dublin and Wicklow Mountains are but a few minutes’ drive away for both walks and trails.
Glendalough, the 6th Century monastic city, is 20 kilometres away across the scenic Wicklow Mountains and the famous Russborough House which houses the Beit Collection is just a three-minute drive away. You will also find the Japanese Gardens, National Stud, Sally and Wicklow Gaps all within a short driving distance from Tulfarris Village.
If it’s shopping, Dublin City is only 37 kilometres back into town. Alternatively, you can visit the local shops in Blessington Village or Naas town.
Punchestown Racecourse, the home of Irish National Hunt Racing for more than 150 years, Hosts the Irish National Hunt Festival as well as exciting race days. The Racecourse is around fifteen minutes’ drive from the resort.
Glendalough is only a 30-minute drive away. Visitors are drawn to the valley of the two lakes because of its spectacular scenery, rich history and abundant wildlife. Glendalough is a must-see if you are in the area.
5. Watch the Pros Play!
The Euro Pro Tour Irish Masters Event takes place at Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort from Wednesday 28th August to Friday August 30th 2019.
The PGA EuroPro Tour is Europe’s leading development tour and the European Tour’s satellite in the UK and Ireland.
This is the second year that Tulfarris has hosted the event.
Tulfarris’s Touring Pro Simon Thornton is included in a total of 156 players who are expected to play at Tulfarris with the top five golfers at the end of the season being awarded a place on the 2020 Challenge Tour.
This is sure to be a fantastic event at the resort as the course is already in wonderful condition.
Tulfarris gets four thumbs up from us two golfers! We had a wonderful experience, and the facilities were excellent.
The food was delicious, and it was great to sample some local produce. As avid golfers, we are really looking forward to playing this fantastic course again. It’s one of those tremendous Irish Golf resorts that makes it a necessity to visit again and to take advantage of the excellent golf facilities and scenic course, all within the resort.
We are really looking forward to seeing the developments the hotel makes for the future. A swimming pool and spa facilities are in the pipeline and we believe this will only enhance the visitor’s experience.
Address: Blessington Lakes, Rathballylong, Blessington, Co. Wicklow, W91 EE95, Ireland
Full details about the resort can be found on www.tulfarrishotel.com