Cruit Island

Rarely does a 9 hole course get the plaudits that are often heaped on Cruit Island, but then again, rarely will you find a 9 hole course that equals this one.  This sparsely populated Island along the Northwest coast of Donegal might not be home to many, less than 100 in fact, but it’s the home of the greatest 9 hole course I have ever set foot on.  As you stand, completely at the mercy of mother nature you very quickly realise that she will decide how well you will play today.

With deep blue sea surrounding every inch of the island it would make you think you are about to embark on a round at Pebble Beach California.  A relatively young course developed in 1986 it is a timeless classic that you would think has been there forever which is a credit to the course Designer Michael Doherty.


It is by no means a perfect course, but the constant reminder of the relentless crashing of the Atlantics waves on the rocks below make you appreciate that this course really is remarkable.


2 of the Gaeltacht regions most famous sons, Packie Bonner and Daniel O’Donnell both host their own competitions on an annual basis which brings a list of golfers and celebrities to the area to test their skills on this hidden treasure.


My lasting memory from this course is standing along the cliff tops (looking for a stray tee off) thinking that Phil Colclough must have stood here at this very point when he penned the words for the Mary Black classic, Song for Ireland

Between the rocks that run down to the sea
Living on your western shore, saw summer sunsets, asked for more,

I stood by your Atlantic sea and sang a song for Ireland”