Tom Coyne’s course called Ireland in Pictures

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Tom Coyne, right, with a gentleman he met along the way to his first stop at a seaside course called Kilkee in Lahinch. A Course Called Ireland: Yer doin' what?
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"Don't skip Castlerock, it's up there with the Enniscrones, the Murvaghs of the south. And the nine hole course they've built, it's a blast," Coyne said. Course Called Ireland: Northern Exposure
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The second hole at Portstewart. "These links courses usually need to warm up, work their way out toward the ocean and the dunes, but Portstewart starts with a WOW," Coyne said. Course Called Ireland: Northern Exposure • Read Tom Coyne's entire travel journal
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The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge on the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland
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Coyne made his way across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge with his brother-in-law Brian.
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Coyne makes his way up the ninth fairway at Ballycastle. "The Ballycastle golf course was a bit confusing, a tad uneven, but the views were spectacular. From the clubhouse, you spot golfers off in the far distance, on top of some unreachable mountaintop, and you say, 'We're going there?' And it is breathtaking once you finally get there," he said.
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At Ballycastle, Coyne says, "The first five holes are a bit sleepy, plain parkland holes winding their way around the ruins of Bonamargy Abbey, circa 1500, which keeps you interested enough." For his brother-in-law Tim, the Abbey provided a stone wall for him to play his tee shot off, ricocheting it out of the ancient graveyard and back into play.
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A surfer looks on as Coyne waits to putt on a green at Ballycastle.
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Coyne's travel mate Julian hunts for his ball in the weeds at County Down. "All the holes look the same when you're looking down at the weeds," Julian said. • Dodging Bullets at County Down
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The famous ninth hole at County Down. "I was secretly hoping that I wouldn't like County Down, that I would be able to reveal to you that it was over-hyped, not worth the price, that its famously snooty attitude was well-earned, that you should stick to the hidden gems of Carne, Ardglass and the like. And all I can really tell you is that, yeah, it is that good," Coyne said.
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Coyne found himself in the bunker at County Down. "[County Down is] tough as hell, but frankly, it might be as good as golf gets," he said.
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At first Coyne was told, "You can't even get into the clubhouse in those shoes," at Castlerock. Luckily, he eventually got permission. Course Called Ireland: Northern Exposure
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Coyne's brother-in-law Brian leaving Donegal on the ferry to Derry. Course Called Ireland: Northern Exposure
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On the road to Lahinch, several farm animals kept Coyne company. Course Called Ireland: Committed in Connemara
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Coyne blasts out to the first green at Lahinch. "The course is a stunner all the way around, and though I'd been there before, it was a whole new place," he said. Course Called Ireland: Committed in Connemara
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Coyne played Enniscrone with his dad, Jim. "After putting us to sleep with an opening four holes that were truly snoozy (three par fives, all straight away and flat as a runway), Enniscrone woke up and roared, winding us in and out and over its dunes," Coyne said. Course Called Ireland: Father and Son
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Jim Coyne takes a swing at Enniscrone.
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Coyne started to feel the pain on the road to Connemara. Course Called Ireland: The Luckiest Suffering Golfer in the World
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Tom Coyne takes a shot on No. 14 at Westport toward the famous mountain, Croagh Patrick, seen in the background. Course Called Ireland: The Luckiest Suffering Golfer in the World
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Coyne came to a vast and long stretch of wet sand on his way to Cruit Island. A harbor drained of water, stretching outward for a mile. Course Called Ireland: Crush on Cruit Island
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"What can I say about Cruit? I can tell you that seven out of nine holes play blind, almost unfairly so, to the point where I had no idea where I was going most of the afternoon," Coyne said. Course Called Ireland: Crush on Cruit Island
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"If you can play Cruit Island on a clear day and not say that you had an absolute blast, then you've just got no golf heart — worse, no golf imagination," Coyne said. Course Called Ireland: Crush on Cruit Island
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Coyne escapes a bunker on the 3rd at Sandy Hills in Rosapenna. "I've played Irish courses where I've felt enveloped by the countryside, but at Sandy Hills, I literally felt lost in it, just rolling landscape and the sea, each hole entirely to itself," Coyne said. Course Called Ireland: The Brother-in-law Who Bled Golf Balls
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Coyne tees off on the first hole at Ardglass. "Ardglass was not only very playable, but the sea was in view on almost every hole, a trait I've found uncommon," he said.