Situated on sprawling coastal land in Ireland’s scenic County Clare, the Lodge at Doonbeg is the last word on elegant country escapes.
Like whiskey and Guinness, Ireland is known for world-class golf, and duffers will find one of the country’s most sought-after courses at The Lodge at Doonbeg in bucolic and coastal County Clare. The resort’s 18-hole links-style course, designed by Greg Norman, spans 1.5 miles of beaches and dunes, with views of the Atlantic at nearly every turn.
Doonbeg Golf Course has hosted some of the sport’s most notable tournaments and, in conjunction with nearby courses Ballybunion and Lahinch, hosts the annual four-day Great Irish Links Challenge each spring. Despite its prominence among the pros, The Lodge at Doonbeg offers something for golfers of all skill levels: Whether they’re budding stars learning the basics of the game or more serious golfers hoping to improve a swing, golf lessons, both private and individual, are offered throughout the year. An on-site driving range gives golfers yet another chance to brush up on their skills.
Golf may be a big draw at Doonbeg, but happily for non-golfers, luxury offerings here reach far beyond the links. The resort, which comprises classic and deluxe guest rooms, courtyard and oceanview suites, and links cottages, is also home to a magnificent spa and offers extensive activities on and off site. At Doonbeg’s sleek White Horse Spa, patrons can pick from a large selection of face and body treatments and beauty services. Treatments use products by signature line VOYA, which are made from organic seaweed and draw from the ocean’s healthful benefits, and Elemis, a luxury British brand. There are even treatments inspired by the nearby natural phenomenon known as the Burren, a stunning karst-landscape region in northwestern County Clare comprising rolling hills, rock beds, and flora.
Feeling refreshed from the spa, Doonbeg guests can pour their new energy into a number of outings off site, including a bicycle ride to the village of Doonbeg, a drive to neighboring Lahinch (a popular surf town whose streets are lined with shops and pubs), or a boat tour of the famous Cliffs of Moher.
However different their taste may be in activities, one component of Doonbeg’s offerings—dining—is bound to appeal to practically all guests. Thanks in large part to Doonbeg’s executive chef, Wade Murphy, who has parlayed his global experiences into a celebrated culinary program at the lodge, dining at Doonbeg’s two main restaurants, The Long Room and Darby’s Bar, flies in the face of every unflattering stereotype cast upon dining in Ireland. You won’t find bland boiled meat and potatoes here; instead, in The Long Room, expect anything from langoustine and fennel ravioli to roasted loin of venison. At Darby’s, pub food takes a sophisticated turn, offering fare like deep-fried goat cheese and fresh seafood stew made with the local catch. If you can’t resist a pub classic like a burger or fish and chips, don’t worry; they’re light years beyond the versions you’re used to back home. At the Lodge at Doonbeg, dining, like everything else offered here, is a cut above the rest. doonbeglodge.com.
Burren Perfumery Tucked away in the vast limestone-laden region of Northern Clare known as the Burren, the Burren Perfumery is the stuff of storybooks. Pick up some perfumes, soaps, and other incredible-smelling products, which are made right on site, and sit for a cup of tea in the perfumery’s tea room. burrenperfumery.com.
Burren Smoke House Bookend your visit to the Burren and its perfumery with a stop at the Burren Smoke House, where you can sample several varieties of freshly smoked wild Irish salmon caught from local waters—there’s trout and mackerel, too. In the Smoke House shop, pick up souvenirs, watch an educational video to learn the smoking process, and pick up loads of specialty Irish chocolate (including Guinness-infused goodies!). burren smokehouse.ie.
Cliffs of Moher A visit to County Clare wouldn’t be complete without a boat tour of the Cliffs of Moher. Paths along the clifftops allow visitors to peer down at the sea, but only when viewed upward from the water is it possible to truly appreciate the cliffs’ incredible height and beauty. cliffsofmoher.ie