If you’re a woman you will want to play at Kenmare for the most basic of reasons. It offers a chance to play golf on a charming course and high quality shopping. The club house is in the heart of a town renowned for tempting clothes shops, the best restaurants in the South of Ireland and an outstanding 5-star Hotel, The Park. It is a 200-yard walk from the front door of the hotel to the first tee. Beat that for convenience! The golf course flows away from the top of the hill down toward the Kenmare River estuary
Kenmare in Irish is An Neidin which means “little nest”. Standing on the 8th tee, the highest point on the course, you see why. The hills surround the town so that it rests as an egg in a nest or the palm of a hand. It has developed over the centuries into a delightful town the “engine of which is fuelled by tourism” as member, Ann Thomas, put it. It was mostly owned by the Marquis of Lansdowne who rented the land to the club for 12 pennies a year in 1903. The Lansdowne family are said to have been benevolent landlords who during the potato famine gave their starving tenants tickets to sail to America.
Kenmare Golf Club offers two unique events; The Three Brothers Golf Competition and The Two Sisters Golf Competition.
Frank O’Connor started the Three Brothers in 1978 He was born in Kenmare and became an outstanding athlete before becoming a lawyer. He and his brothers were great promoters of golf holding leading roles in Ireland’s greatest golf clubs. He emigrated from Kenmare to New York where he became a successful lawyer. In 1978 he came up with the idea of the Three Brothers as a way of bringing together families who might welcome the excuse of a great game of golf. It was instantly popular; becoming an annual event attracting teams from up to 12 countries. This year 180 brothers have entered for the event in September 2016. The social side is almost as important as the game. The Two Sisters was first played in July 2011 and this year attracted 62 teams from 10 countries.
Kenmare is a very social club which is another of its attractions. The club is run by the members who like to party well and welcome visitors both to play and socialise.
The town of Kenmare has several annual events such as the Horse Fair on 15th August.
The Festival has become an excuse for an annual hooley with music in the streets, dancing, fireworks and lots of Guinness and good cheer in the bars.
There were a few scruffy horses and one nice carriage horse.
Chickens, ducks, puppies and goats were offered for sale by an assortment of Irish Travellers, potbellied old men and young children. I discovered they whispered prices according to their judgement of a customer’s wallet rather than the quality of the goods.