Golf is the single biggest sporting attraction in Ireland, with nearly a quarter of a million visitors traveling here specifically to play. The Irish landscape and climate, like those of Scotland, seem almost custom-designed for scenic links, fair fairways, green greens, and dramatic traps -- and there is never a shortage of 19th holes. In short, Ireland is a place of golfing pilgrimage.
Best of all, golfing is not confined to those with an Olympian income. Membership fees do not require mortgages, and greens fees for walk-ins are often quite modest, especially on weekdays and at off-peak hours.
Tourism Ireland has a dedicated golf website with numerous contacts and links (no pun intended) at www.golf.discoverireland.ie/Home.aspx.
A host of U.S. companies offer package golf tours. Among them are Golf International (tel. 800/833-1389 or 212/986-9176; www.golfinternational.com) and Wide World of Golf (tel. 800/214-4653; www.wideworldofgolf.com).