Anyone played in Ireland? I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve been over there five times…before the golf was discovered. I remember playing Lahinch, the site of a recent Irish Open and very near the Cliffs of Moher, for 45 Irish Pounds (before the euro). What a great links course! Now it costs ~$175 US to play there. Ballybunion, Rosses Pointe, Tralee, Killarney…also great, tour level courses that were inexpensive to play in the mid 1990s.
However, if you are looking for value and still want to play great courses, try Ennis, Westport, Dundrum House, Gort, Galway, Bearna, Athenry, Spanish Point, and Kilkee. All of them are much less in cost (~$35-55 US) and offer great views, great golf, and great conditions. The best time to get these rates is in the low season (Oct.- early Nov.). Interestingly, some have a sign at the first tee that [basically] states your round should take no longer than three hours! Slow play is frowned upon in Ireland and golf carts are almost non existent over there. You either walk and carry your own bag, or walk and take a trolley (pull cart).
The best parts besides the golf…the people…they love everyone and are glad to be your host. The B&Bs are reasonable in cost, the breakfasts will fill you up until dinner, and by all means stay away from Budweiser, Miller, Coors, and any other American brands, because you will insult them. Take in the Guinness, Smithwick, Harps, and Jameson Whiskey. And by all means enjoy the pub experiences, as well as the walks through the towns and villages. I assure you…you will want to go back again and again.