|The Radisson Roe Park Hotel and Golf Resort is set on the scenic hillside of Limavady, Northern Ireland. (Courtesy Radisson Roe Park)|
LIMAVADY, Northern Ireland - Northern Ireland is littered with stunning links courses. Royal Portrush and Royal County Down headline an impressive collection of golf courses that are becoming more and more popular as tourists rediscover the region after a decade of peace.
Located in the town of Limavady, the Radisson Roe Park Hotel and Golf Resort isn't out to compete against these 100-year-old links. Instead, it serves a niche offering Northern Ireland's only four-star golf resort and a golf facility that includes an 18-hole parkland course and full-service practice and teaching facility. And it's all within an easy drive of most top courses.
From the resort, you're a short drive to the towns of Castlerock, Portstewart and Portrush, all of which offer championship links golf. There are many scenic attractions along the A1 Causeway Coastal Route, including Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle and the Bushmills Distillery, the world's oldest whiskey distillery, dating to 1608. Ireland's northernmost links, "Ballyliffin, is across the border in the Republic of Ireland and can be reached by the Foyle Ferry, which crosses the Foyle Lough in about 10 minutes. Note, however, the ferry is closed when the weather is poor and the drive around the lough is about two hours.
Belfast, Northern Ireland's capital city, is also less than an hour away.
The Roe Park golf course itself isn't one of those "must plays" of Northern Ireland, but it's a serviceable full-length parkland course set on hilly traditional Irish land that winds along the valley of the River Roe.
It's is a par-70 that plays 6,318 yards from the championship tees. Rates on the golf course range from £20 to £30. The course is open all year, but, like most Irish parklands, can get soggy in the winter months.
The practice facility provides short-game practice and covered bays for practice in inclement weather. It also has themed lessons and short-game lessons for groups and individuals.
The resort has several dining options of its own. The Coach House sits above the pro shop and has long windows that offer great views of the golf course. Though on the casual side, it's certainly a step up from common pub or clubhouse fare. The resort's main fine dining room is the Greens Restaurant. Traditional Irish breakfast is complimentary.
There are plenty of ways to stay active besides golf in any weather, including a heated outdoor swimming pool and fitness center. If you must swing some clubs, the golf academy also plans to install an indoor golf simulator this year that can be used in bad weather and nights.
The hotel is a favorite among tour operators and corporate outings. Along with 118 guest rooms, it has seven separate banquet and wedding facilities for group functions. All facets of the resort are modern. Rooms and most public areas feature free wireless Internet.
The Roe Spa is a £1 million project built by Austrian designer Heinz Schletter and features specialty equipment and treatments, including a Moroccan Mud Rasul, a cleansing ritual. Other signature treatments include an Aquaveda wet exfoliation table and the Cleopatra Bathing Experience, as well as steam showers, a meditation chamber and foot Jacuzzis.
While located close to most of Northern Ireland's happenings, you'll find plenty at the resort itself to keep you as busy - or relaxed as you wish.
June 1, 2007
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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