During the nineteenth century the Republic of Ireland, or Éire, was part of the United Kingdom and records state that British troops brought golf to the Emerald Isle in the 1850s. The oldest golf course in the Republic of Ireland is set on the heathland of the Curragh in County Kildare and there are records of a match being played there in 1852.
The Curragh Golf Club (now Royal Curragh Golf Club after the club finally decided in 2013 to use the royal title that was granted in 1910) was founded in 1858, twenty-three years before the formation of Royal Belfast (1881) and twenty-seven years before the formation of Royal Dublin (1885).
Golf in Ireland possibly dates back beyond the nineteenth century but records are scant. However, there is no doubt whatsoever that Ireland possesses many of the finest golf courses in the world and is quite rightly one of the premier golf destinations thanks to household names such as Ballybunion, Lahinch and Portmarnock.
According to the R&A's Golf Around the World 2019 report, there are 494 golf courses across the entire island of Ireland. We believe there are approximately 100 courses in Northern Ireland, therefore the Republic of Ireland may lay claim to around 400 courses (give or take) which are scatted far and wide across the Emerald Isle.
We created an inaugural Ireland Top 100 in 2006 and so far no other publication has assembled a Top 100 for Éire, although a number of golf magazines have produced Top 100 lists for the Republic and Northern Ireland combined.
We updated the Republic of Ireland's Top 100 in November 2019. Full details are here: Top 100 Golf Courses of Ireland