Carne Golf Links
Carne Golf Links

Mayo Golf Course Ranked Best in Northwest

A Mayo golf course along the Wild Atlantic Way was the host for the Irish PGA Championship in 2021 and to continue its winning streak, it has now been selected as the tournament's 2022 host, in addition to being named the highest-ranked golf course in Ireland's northwest, according to Irish Golfer, which recently unveiled its Top 100 Courses in Ireland to play this year.

The Carne Golf Links is a 27-hole links course located in North Mayo, which was designed by the late Eddie Hackett, the Dublin-born golf course architect who is credited with creating many of Ireland’s links courses.

About the Carnes Golf Links

The course is built around the region’s unspoiled sand dunes overlooking Blacksod Bay in North Mayo.

Carne Golf Links was officially opened in 1992 as a 9-hole course, with the second 9 added in 1993.

An additional 9 holes, known as “The Kilmore 9,” was officially opened in 2013. That and the Hackett back 9 are collectively known as “The Wild Atlantic Dunes Course.”

Its clubhouse was completed in 1995.
Elly Bay Beach, about a 12-minute drive from the Mayo golf course that hosted the 2021 Irish PGA championship. Photo: Christian McLeod, Failte Ireland.

Green fees for visitors at Carnes Golf Links are €60 (January-March and November-December) and €130 (April-October).

The area around Carne is not only famous for its fabulous golf links, but also for its sandy beaches, bountiful wildlife, and the friendliness of its people.

Here are some tourist attractions to look out for when you’re visiting this top Mayo golf course and the Wild Atlantic Way, a 1,500-mile (2.500 km) coastal route that begins in Donegal and ends in County Cork.

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Erris Head Loop Walk

This 3.2-mile (5-km) trail is a beautiful coastal walk that begins at the end of the access road to Erris Head (“Ceann Iorrais” in Gaelic), which is located on the Mullet Peninsula.
The beautiful coastline of North Mayo at Erris, a short distance from the Mayo golf course that hosted the PGA competition. Photo: Comhar – Own work, Public Domain,

Along the way, there are magnificent views of the North Mayo coast, the nearby cliffs, and in the distance, the Stags of Broad Haven, a group of five islets of steep rocky cliffs that rise out of the water about 100 meters (328 feet).

The area is rich in wildlife, including fulmars, Great Skuas, gannets, and guillemots. At its most northerly point, you’ll find a viewing point that showcases Illandavuck Island, which lies just off the coast.

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Broadhaven Bay

Broadhaven Bay is a Special Area of Conservation that is home to some unusual marine life and is also where you'll find wintering birds.

large rocks in the ocean Mayo golf course
The Stags of Broadhaven. Photo: David O'Brien, Getty Images.

In the 16th century, sailors from the Spanish Armada fleet found themselves floundering in this area off the North Mayo coast.

In fact, one of the ships, The Santiago, sank in these waters, which are known to be treacherous, especially during bad weather.

Also in the area is Broadhaven Lighthouse, which is operated by Ireland’s Commissioner of Lights.

The lighthouse was constructed in 1848 and not converted to electricity until 1977.

You’ll get a much better view of the Stags of Broadhaven from here.

Visiting divers, sub-aqua teams, canoeists, and others have been known to venture out to at least one of the rocks, which is bisected by a long narrow cave from one side to the other.

stone circle near the ocean Mayo golf course
The Dooncarten Stone Circle. Photo: Comhar – Own work. Public Domain,

Lovers of ancient Irish history will appreciate the Dooncarton Stone Circle, where postcard-worthy views of the ocean and the bay are guaranteed.

There are seven stones remaining in this incomplete stone circle, the tallest of them standing at around 4 feet (1.2 meters).

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Ceide Fields

This archaeological site is almost 6,000 years ago and contains the oldest field systems in the world.

It is about a 45-minute drive from the Co. Mayo golf course that hosted the PGA tournament.

The ancient site was discovered in the 1930s by a local farmer who noticed a large number of stones in a specific formation deep in the bog where he was cutting turf.

Several years later, his son, an archaeologist, found cultivated fields, houses, and tombs, all from the Neolithic era.

field with path County Mayo tourist attractions
The Ceide Fields in Ballycastle, Co. Mayo. Photo: SharonCobo

The artifacts that were found at the site revealed an ancient farming community that used wooden plows drawn by cattle to grow wheat and barley. Numerous tools were also found, including pottery and stones.

Be sure to visit the Heritage Centre, which includes several exhibits, including a 4,000-year-old pine tree that was dug up from the nearby bogland.

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Downpatrick Head (Dún Briste)

Downpatrick Head is a favorite attraction for tourists visiting North Mayo. The giant sea stack, known also as Dún Briste, means “Broken Fort.”

It stands at 150 feet tall (45 meters).

a sea stack
Downpatrick Head in North Mayo along the Wild Atlantic Way. Photo courtesy of Daniel Struk for Getty Images.

Downpatrick Head and the surrounding cliffs were formed around 350 million years ago when the ocean was much warmer and the coastline a greater distance away.

Despite the many legends that have been told about its formation, the most valid explanation is that an arch leading to the stack broke away during a violent storm in 1393.

Not far from Downpatrick Head is an old watchtower as well as the “Eire 64” sign in the ground that alerted pilots flying overhead during World War II that they had reached neutral territory.

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