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Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort

County Donegal, Ireland


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    Located on the idyllic Sheephaven Bay in Northwest Ireland, the Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort is the proud home to two of the finest links golf courses in the world. The Old Tom Morris Links designed by Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews in 1893 and a modern great in the Sandy Hills Links laid out by Pat Ruddy of The European Club fame and open for play since 2003. A luxury hotel on-site makes the isolated resort a fantastic getaway from a weekender to an entire week, in what is a beautiful corner of Donegal. Other golf destinations on Ireland’s North Coast include Portstewart, Caslterock and Royal Portrush. We recommend starting or finishing your golf trip to Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way with a visit to the esteemed Rosapenna Resort.

    Resort Details

    Rosapenna Downings, F92 PN73, Co. Donegal, Ireland

    +353 74 915 5301

    Resort Information

    Sandy Hills Links

    Designed by Pat Ruddy of the esteemed European Club, and with a hand from Frank Casey Snr, and Beau Welling, the Sandy Hills Links is intended for the serious golfer. Its narrow fairways appear constricting from the tee, but the landing areas sculpted from the dunes are deceptively wide. Measuring a hefty 6,634 metres / 7,255 yards from the tips, Sandy Hills was designed with championship play in mind. However, don’t allow this to deter you, with a multiplicity of tees there is a length to suit all strengths.


    Where Old Tom settled for a course alongside the dunes, Pat Ruddy has gone straight through them from start to finish and created an awesome course that will test any golfer, yet somehow still seduce those that cannot live with it. Each hole is spectacular and the views across the Old Tom Morris Links toward the beautiful Sheephaven Bay will salve any wounds inflicted by this incredible golf course.


    Old Tom Morris Links

    In September 2009 the new Strand Nine opened at Rosapenna to replace the original back nine which played across the main road on a number of holes. These new links holes which are now played as the front nine are routed through the low-lying dunes to the east of the Sandy Hills Links and are fashioned much like the original Old Tom Morris Valley nine that runs along the beautiful Tramore beach overlooking Sheephaven Bay which have now become the back nine. Laid out by Pat Ruddy of the European Club these new links holes, which have striking views across Mulroy Bay, have matured to a condition that has seen them settle into the Old Tom Morris Links layout to provide a seamless connection between each nine.


    The original back nine of the Old Links known as the “Coastguard Holes” are now played as a separate nine-hole course beginning and finishing at the practice ground. Running to just under 7,000 yards off the championship markers the Strand and Valley nines which now make up the Old Tom Morris Links are a testing combination of traditional and modern links holes which bridge a century of golf design influences.


    St Patricks Links

    November 2012 – The Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort in North-West Donegal, Ireland has recently acquired the 370 acres formally known as St. Patrick’s Golf Links (36 holes) that adjoins the 800 acre dune system at Rosapenna. These 36 extra links holes now leave Rosapenna (45 holes to date) with 81 links golf holes along the picturesque Sheephaven Bay including the Old Tom Morris Links, Sandy Hills Links, No. 3 Links, No. 4 Links & the Coastguard Nine becoming the second largest links golf destination in Europe after St Andrews in Scotland. Rosapenna has a long illustrious golfing history which dates back to 1891 when Lord Leitrim brought Old Tom Morris of St Andrews to Rosapenna to design the first links which opened for play in 1893.


     A timber structured hotel was also built soon after which accommodated golfers from all over Europe making Rosapenna the oldest golf resort in the country. In 1906 professional golfers Harry Vardon & James Braid both travelled to play at Rosapenna and they made some alterations to the course, adding length and more detailed bunkering. The three golfers have 16 Major Championship titles between them, Old Tom Morris (4 Open Championship titles), James Braid (5 Open Championship titles) & Harry Vardon (6 Open Championship titles & 1 US Open title).


    The back nine of the original layout crossed the main road on a number of occasions and on September 1st, 2009 the Strand Nine opened as the new front nine to link in with the original holes 2-10 (Valley Nine) which are now played as the back nine of the Old Tom Morris Links finishing at the new Golf Pavilion (clubhouse) which opened on May 1st, 2005. This pure links layout is now ranked No.34 in Golf Digest Ireland’s Top 100 Course List. Rosapenna’s newer championship course, the Sandy Hills Links, designed by Pat Ruddy opened for play on the 25th of June 2003 and has steadily risen up the many ranking polls since and has just been ranked No.42 in Great Britain & Ireland’s Top 100 List by Golf Monthly Magazine 2012, with only 9 Irish courses above Rosapenna’s Sandy Hills Links in Golf Monthly’s Top 100 in GB&I it is effectively ranked 10th in Ireland.

    Classic Rooms

    Featuring comfortable en-suite rooms with double beds, Classic rooms come adorned with old-style window curtains, rich pillows and blankets that exude a comfortable and quaint atmosphere. The bathrooms, however, feature modern double vanities with marble-coloured walls and ample cupboard space. The rooms have a work desk and rich dark-wood chested draws that make each room feel cosy and a journey back in time.


    Deluxe Rooms

    At a spacious 32m², Deluxe Rooms benefit from beach views whilst retaining all the charm and cosiness associated with classic rooms. Whilst both larger than Classic Rooms and featuring sea-views, the Deluxe room category has luxury old-fashioned couches and a dark wooden writing desk. The tall lamps shine a very warm light onto the patterned carpet and luxurious beds.


    Bay view Junior Suite

    Bay view Junior Suites offer the Resort’s best in comfort and style. They combine a classic elegance with a contemporary twist, all featuring private balconies with stunning views overlooking Sheephaven Bay. These suites are 41m² and have luxurious king-sized beds, Wi-Fi access, a Nespresso coffee maker, and an abundance of space.

    Vardon Restaurant

    Named in honour of the great Harry Vardon, winner of a record six Open Championship titles and also the 1900 US Open at Chicago Golf Club. Harry Vardon along with another great, James Braid, visited Rosapenna in 1906 and added length and bunkering to the original Old Tom Morris design. Striking views of Sheephaven Bay and spectacular evening sunsets are experienced from the restaurant. The Vardon Restaurant specialises in local seafood with fresh food arriving to the kitchen daily. Shellfish are caught off the headlands on the Atlantic Drive with lobster, scallops and crab regularly on the menu. All meat is sourced from a long established local family butcher, and they are happy to accommodate any special dietary requirements.


    James Braid Bar

    The hotel’s bar was named after James Braid winner of the Open Championship on five occasions and renowned course architect who along with Harry Vardon added length and bunkering to Old Tom Morris’s original design in 1906. Known by most as the 19th hole, golfers share in tales of victory and woe of their day on the links while indulging in a traditional pint. You can also admire the history that surrounds Rosapenna with beautiful old photography of the original Rosapenna Hotel and the Old Tom Morris Links. The James Braid bar stocks a large range of liqueurs, spirits and beers and a fine range of single malt whiskies and brandies.

    Golf Pavilion

    The Golf Pavilion which officially opened on June 16th, 2005 represents a €3 million investment is classic 21st. century modernity. Covering an 18,000 square foot floor area, the two-storey structure has state of the art ground floor changing rooms, and fully stocked golf shop. Spacious restaurant, and lounge, billiards room, committee room, and conference room are located on the first floor.


    The interior design and furnishing concepts reflect an elegantly styled luxury with subtle light patterns which engage with striking views of Sheephaven Bay and Muckish Mountain landscapes. Architecturally, the Pavilion design draws from Open Championship venue, Turnberry in Scotland, and from elevations and style of the old Rosapenna Hotel, built as a holiday lodge by the Earl of Leitrim in 1893. In another connection with the past, the site of the  Pavilion is the exact site of the original holiday lodge.


    Practice Facilities

    The ideal place to warm up before your round, the Practice Ground is located just opposite the entrance to the Golf Pavillion. There is a ball dispenser on site that accepts €1, €2 & 50c coins. They have multiple turfing areas as well as a number of covered bays with no restriction on how long a club you can use (350 yards to the end). There is also a 12-hole par-3 course which starts and finishes from the Practice Ground office.



    The Rosapenna Resort has a number of leisure facilities that will relax and rejuvenate even the weariest travellers. These amenities include an indoor heated pool, a whirlpool, a sauna, stream room, private changing rooms and all are exclusive to hostel residents.



    With 10 different body treatments available ranging from a Back, Neck & Shoulder Massage to the Lomi Lomi Hawaiian Massage. There are also a range of Jurlique facials, and treatments that luxuriously combine work on both the body and face. For the Golfer they have the Golfer’s Body Boost perfect either before your round for preparing the body and after for working out tired muscles and to feel rejuvenated.


    Diving / Sea Tours / Angling Trips

    Mevagh Dive Centre is Donegal’s only dive centre which offers a variety of courses from scuba/sea dives to power boat training. They also have a 3.7 metre purpose built indoor dive pool which offers training in a safe, warm environment.

    • Sheephaven Bay Sea Tours
    • Tory Island Trips
    • Day Boat Charter
    • Sea Angling or Evening Fishing Trips



    Donegal offers some of the most unspoiled landscapes in Ireland. The walking enthusiast can choose from a variety of walks from Marked Trails, Looped Walks as well as Coastal and Forest walks. In Downings they have some breathtaking walks with the beautiful 4 miles long Tramore Beach on the doorstep of the Rosapenna Hotel. They also have the world famous Atlantic Drive which is 8.5 miles in length. These are just a few of the many routes to walk in the Sheephaven Bay Walking Guide which is available at the hotel reception as part of Rosapenna’s walking breaks. If you’re planning on making a day of it, the kitchen can provide a packed lunch.

    The airports at Belfast, Dublin, Knock and Shannon all provide International flights from a wide range of worldwide destinations. Donegal and City of Derry airports are both approximately a 90-minute drive from Rosapenna and offer flights from Dublin and Great Britain. Belfast to Rosapenna is a 2.5-hour drive, whilst driving directly from Dublin is about a 4-hour drive. The recommended way to travel around the north and west of Ireland is to hire your own car and take your time exploring every sheltered bay, unnamed ruin and hidden golf courses on the Wild Atlantic Way. We can assist with transfers, flights, rental cars and every-thing you need to visit Rosapenna Resort at any time of year.

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