Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort, Downings – 4 Star

The Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort in North-West Donegal, Ireland has recently acquired the 370 acres formally known as St. Patrick’s Golf Links (36 holes) that adjoins the 800 acre dune system at Rosapenna. These 36 extra links holes now leave Rosapenna (45 holes to date) with 81 links golf holes along the picturesque Sheephaven Bay including the Old Tom Morris Links, Sandy Hills Links, No.3 Links, No.4 Links & the Coastguard Nine becoming the second largest links golf destination in Europe after St Andrews in Scotland.

Rosapenna has a long illustrious golfing history which dates back to 1891 when Lord Leitrim brought Old Tom Morris of St Andrews to Rosapenna to design the first links which opened for play in 1893. A timber structured hotel was also built soon after which accommodated golfers from all over Europe making Rosapenna the oldest golf resort in the country. In 1906 professional golfers Harry Vardon & James Braid both travelled to play at Rosapenna and they made some alterations to the course, adding length and more detailed bunkering. The three golfers have 16 Major Championship titles between them, Old Tom Morris (4 British Open titles), James Braid (5 British Open titles) & Harry Vardon (6 British Open titles & 1 US Open title). The back nine of the original layout crossed the main road on a number of occasions and on September 1st 2009 the Strand Nine opened as the new front nine to link in with the original holes 2-10 (Valley Nine) which are now played as the back nine of the Old Tom Morris Links finishing at the new Golf Pavilion (clubhouse) which opened on May 1st 2005. This pure links layout is now ranked No.34 in Golf Digest Ireland’s Top 100 Course List. Rosapenna’s newer championship course, the Sandy Hills Links, designed by Pat Ruddy opened for play on the 25thof June 2003 and has steadily risen up the many ranking polls since and has just been ranked No.42 in Great Britain & Ireland’s Top 100 List by Golf Monthly Magazine 2012, with only 9 Irish courses above Rosapenna’s Sandy Hills Links in Golf Monthly’s Top 100 in GB&I it is effectively ranked 10th in Ireland.

Jack Nicklaus, winner of 18 Major Championship titles including three British Opens and his design team were commissioned to redesign the 36 holes at St. Patrick’s Golf Links and work did start in November 2006 after Relton Developments had purchased the two courses from the Walsh family of the Carrigart Hotel, owners since 1976. “The land and the dunes comprising St. Patrick’s is what Ireland golf is supposed to be–raw, natural, wild, windy, with bunkers, carved and created by Mother Nature,”said Tim Kenny, executive vice president of Nicklaus Design. “It is absolutely an incredible site.” All redesign works by Nicklaus Design ceased at the end of December the same year. The first of the two courses, Maheramagorgan, was originally designed by Eddie Hackett in 1982 but construction did not begin for 11 years and was not fully completed until 1996–the last piece of sod was laid two months before Hackett’s death on Oct. 31, 1996. The second course, Trá Mór, was designed in 1996 by former Royal County Down assistant professional Joanne O’Haire, and is said to be the only course in Ireland designed by a female.

Rosapenna has been owned and operated by the Casey family since 1981 and has seen the resort grow from one 18 hole golf course with a 40 bedroom hotel to the resort as it is today which now boasts a four star 62 bedroom hotel, leisure centre, Golf Pavilion and now 81 links holes as well as the practice facility with its own 12 hole Par 3 course.

“We are very excited that we can now extend golf at Rosapenna beyond what we know as “the top of the Valley” along the shores of Tramore Beach, the dunescape is some of the finest in the world and very similar to what we already have.

It is essentially one piece of dune land that is ideally suited to championship links golf and the views of Sheephaven Bay are spectacular“said Frank Casey Snr resort owner and operator for the last 31 years.

Accommodations :

Bayview Suites offer the best in comfort and style. They combine classic elegance with a contemporary twist, all having private balconies with stunning views overlooking Sheephaven Bay
  • King size bed or 2 x 5 ft doubles
  • Spectacular views of Sheephaven Bay
  • Private balcony with seating
  • Individually controlled heating
  • Large bathrooms
  • Roll top bath with separate power shower
  • Anti mist bathroom mirrors
  • 40” LCD TV with Sky Sports channels
  • Direct dial telephones
  • Electronic safe
  • Hairdryer, iron and ironing board
  • Tea & coffee making facilities
  • Refrigerator with mineral water
  • Comfortable seating area
  • Bath robes and slippers
  • Luxury spa range toiletries
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Room Size from 450 sq. foot
Junior Suites are spacious with separate dressing room and comfortable seating area. Most of our Junior Suites benefit from stunning ocean views
  • King Size Bed or Two 5 ft Doubles
  • Bath with Separate Shower
  • Dressing Room
  • Individually Controlled Under Floor Heating
  • TV with Sky Sports Channels
  • Direct Dial Telephones
  • Electronic Safe
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Trouser Press
  • Tea & Coffee Making Facilities
  • Refrigerator with Mineral Water
  • Comfortable Seating Area
  • Bath Robes and Slippers
  • Luxury Spa Range Toiletries
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Deluxe Rooms – Spacious & elegant en-suite rooms with a 5ft double bed & a single bed. Ground floor deluxe rooms are available and all benefit from beach views.
  • Views of Downings beach
  • 32” LCD TV with Sky Sports channels
  • Direct dial telephone
  • Hairdryer, iron and ironing board, Trouser press
  • Tea & coffee making facilities
  • Refrigerator
  • Luxury toiletries
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Room Size from 350 sq. foot
Classic Room – Comfortable en-suite rooms with double beds (some with an additional single bed). Family rooms are also available.
  • TV with Sky Sports channels
  • Direct dial telephone
  • Hairdryer
  • iron and ironing board
  • Tea & coffee making facilities
  • Refrigerator
  • Luxury toiletries
  • Room size from 300 sq. foot
  • All rooms and suites now have complimentary Wi-Fi

Dining & Drinks :

Vardon Restaurant

Named in honour of the great Harry Vardon, winner of a record six Open titles and also the 1900 US Open at Chicago Golf Club. Harry Vardon along with another great – James Braid visited Rosapenna in 1906 and added length and bunkering to the original Old Tom Morris design. Striking views of Sheephaven Bay and spectacular evening sunsets are experienced from the restaurant.

The restaurant specialises in local seafood with fresh fish arriving to our kitchen daily. Shellfish is caught off the headlands on the Atlantic Drive with lobster, scallops and crab regularly on the menu.

Our meats are all sourced from a long established family butcher. We are happy to accommodate any special dietary requirement you may have.
Restaurant Reservations

Rosapenna Hotel is delighted to welcome visiting guests into our restaurant.

James Braid Bar

The hotel’s bar was named after James Braid winner of the Open Championship on five occasions and renowned course architect who along with Harry Vardon added length and bunkering to Old Tom Morris’s original design in 1906. Known by most as the 19th hole, golfers share in tales of victory and woe of their day on the links while indulging in a traditional pint. You can also admire the history that surrounds Rosapenna with beautiful old photography of the original Rosapenna Hotel and the Old Tom Morris Links.

Golf :

Rosapenna Golf Resort is home to two championship links courses in one stunning coastal location.

Golfers have been travelling to Rosapenna since the late 19th century when the Old Tom Morris links was ranked 3rd in the British Isles behind St.Andrews and Royal County Down. It was for this reason that great golfers of their time Harry Vardon, James Braid and Tom Ball holidayed in Rosapenna.

In 2003 Rosapenna Golf Resort opened it’s second course the Sandy Hills links designed by Pat Ruddy of European Club fame.

In its relatively short lifetime Sandy Hills has been met with rave reviews and steadily climbed the rankings as it matures into one of Ireland’s finest modern links courses.

Rosapenna Golf Hotel Ireland also boasts a nine-hole academy course as well as extensive practise facilities.

Leisure Activities :

Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort leisure facilities include:

  • Indoor heated pool
  • Whirlpool
  • Sauna
  • Steam room
  • Changing Rooms
  • Exclusive to hotel residents
Video of Hotel