With a mother whose maiden name is McNamee, it was inevitable I would make my way to Ireland at some point in my life. It took me 47 years, but the Emerald Isle was everything I thought it would be—and so much more.
Traveling with my wife, two teenage daughters and some very close friends, we made our way from California to Shannon and eventually Waterville to play in a father/daughter golf tournament. After visiting Bunratty Castle and braving the beautiful—and nerve-racking—roads we spent a couple of days at the enchanting Park Hotel in Kenmare. Playing the Kenmare Golf Club by day and enjoying the quaint town and live music at night, we were overwhelmed by how unbelievably friendly everyone was. Everything you have heard about the kindness and spirit of the Irish people is absolutely true!
Our journey continued with an amazing drive through the Ring of Kerry and eventually to Waterville and the Butler Arms Hotel. The only thing comparable to the views of the neighboring islands from Waterville is the sight of Lanai from the island of Maui. The country's beauty is absolutely mesmerizing.
My daughter Madison (16) and I played in the Carr Travel Father/Daughter Golf Tournament and had an unbelievable time. The Waterville Links course is absolutely spectacular and was exactly what you would imagine an Irish, seaside links to be. Challenging, wet and windy conditions made the course difficult, but the experience of playing with my daughter in the land of our ancestors was priceless. As with every place we visited in Ireland, the people were charming and genuinely happy to have us there. We had amazing homemade soup and bread in the clubhouse thanks to Eileen and her daughter Lucy, drank some cold Guinness and seriously contemplated never leaving.
If you were wondering if a trip to Ireland was worth the time and money, I can guarantee you won't be disappointed. My family plans on going back next year with a few more people in tow. While we had an incredibly fulfilling experience, we still have at least 75 percent of the county to see, at least 50 great golf courses to play and countless new friends to meet.
For golf travel packages to Ireland's southwest, visit www.swinggolfireland.com.