Experiencing Golf in Ireland via Stena Line Ferries
Article by Golfshake Ambassador Andrew Picken
Ireland is a revered destination for golfers, drawing thousands each year to many of the most spectacular courses on the planet, and it's a journey that most will probably take by plane. But how about crossing the Irish Sea for an added touch of adventure and romance?
I recently represented my country in an international golf challenge. Sounds great doesn’t it and it was a fabulous experience. I had been selected/volunteered/press ganged to play for a team of journalists from Great Britain against a crack team from Ireland in the inaugural Stena Line Media Masters.
We were playing at Druids Glen and Powerscourt, but most excitingly, we boarded a Stena Line ferry to travel to our destination rather than the usual flights. Both venues qualify for Highly Recommended status due to the glowing reviews written by golfers, for golfers on the Golfshake. They are excellent and well worth a visit.
My previous experiences of using ferries to Ireland range from a trip 20 years ago. 14 blokes playing golf, one designated driver, 13 designated drinkers, using a borrowed minibus from the local rugby club. The rear door lock was broken, so to prevent the clubs falling out we used rope and a scaffold bar to hold it closed from the inside. What could possibly go wrong? Our biggest mistake was to visit a newly opened all you can eat Mexican buffet having cleared off around ten pints of Guinness each. What goes on tour stays on tour, but the mix was not to be recommended. Going down OK, coming back with a vengeful fury, not so much.
Other trips involving golf groups and ferries were much more civilised. Most of the group flew with minimum luggage and two of the 20 chose to drive a hire van loaded to the ginnels with luggage and golf clubs. The plan worked well and it is a method I have used regularly when travelling in large numbers over the water to Ireland. As a group we draw lots as to the driver of the van. Previously I avoided this role. From the experience of travelling with Stena Line I would now be quite happy to undertake the driving duties in the future.
Ireland is blessed with some world class golf courses, world class cuisine and a welcome for visitors that cannot be matched. I am now a real convert to travel by ferry and will certainly consider this mode of transport for future trips to the Emerald Isle.
Inside the Stena Line Ferry
The ferry is a perfect method for transporting pets and livestock and if it is good enough for a Grand National winner it is certainly good enough for me.
This ferry trip was totally relaxed and luxurious. We were travelling in the plus lounge which provides free food, drinks and nibbles throughout the gentle journey.
On touring the vessel, I was genuinely surprised at how much it had changed from my past memories.
We toured the bridge and I was reassured at the level of technology in play to ensure a safe and calm passage for all. I was stunned at the size of the vessel and how many vehicles and containers it was capable of carrying in total safety and comfort.
Cabins are provided and many of the professional drivers used them to ensure quality rest between journeys.
There were a number of quiet zones that were also heavily populated by those using incredibly comfortable chairs and loungers. Many customers simply slept throughout the four-hour journey.
The HYGGE lounger chairs were simply too comfortable and almost rocked the user to sleep at will. A totally relaxed way to travel between countries. No restricted leg room seats here.
Those travelling with kids were amply provided for by the number of child friendly zones that included a cinema, TV games areas etc. This really does seem to be the ideal way to keep active children occupied and interested throughout a journey.
The food was great and the ability to pick and choose drinks and nibbles throughout the journey was a real bonus.
I started to think about taking pets across the water by air and this is definitely an avenue I will explore more fully in the future. So much less stressful having unlimited luggage kept in your own car rather than be restricted to weight limits by flying.
For the travelling golfer this is a real bonus as there is none of the measuring of bags standing on bathroom scales with no real guarantee of accurate readings.
Simply load up everything you want. If it fits in your vehicle you are good to go. How easy is that?
The check in process was simple and straightforward with a waiting lounge provided for foot passengers.
I am now a complete convert to ferry travel and will be using this route on my next private trip. The prices are very competitive given what is involved and the ease of travel is a definite boon. I also really enjoyed the drive from the Midlands down the Welsh coast. Much more enjoyable than a drive down the M1 to the London airports!
The event was played in the best possible of spirits with some highly competitive golf played by all. The event was won by Ireland 9 v 3, but I am pleased to report that I managed to secure two of those points in the pairs event and singles the next day.
STENA LINE PRICES:
Stena Line prices for a car plus driver start at £89 / €99 single.
Additional passengers cost £32 / €36 per person single.
- A car plus 2 travel for £121 / €135 single (just £60.50 / €67.50 per person
- A car plus 3 travel for £153 / €171 single (just £51 / €57 per person
- A car plus 4 travel for £185 / €207 single (just £46.25 / €51.75 per person
Overnighters (up to 36hrs) for car plus 2 start at just £169 / €204 return.
Additional passengers cost £20 / €25 per person return.
- An overnighter car plus 2 travel for £169 / €204 return (just £84.50 / €102 pp return)
- An overnighter car plus 3 travel for £189 / €229 return (just £63 / €76.33 pp return)
- An overnighter car plus 4 travel for £209 / €254 return (just £52.25 / €63.50 pp return)
Rail and Sail single fares start at £36 / €40 per person.
Stena Line is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, offering the biggest fleet and the widest choice of routes between Britain and Ireland including Holyhead to Dublin, Fishguard to Rosslare, Liverpool to Belfast, Heysham to Belfast, and Cairnryan to Belfast, a total of 232 weekly sailing options.
Stena Line also offers the only direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg with three return crossings a week.
To book with Stena Line or for further information on Stena Line routes, services, prices etc:
UK: Click on www.stenaline.co.uk or call 08447 70 70 70
Ireland: Click on www.stenaline.ie or call 01 907 5555
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