During our first mill stop in the heart of Donegal, we found the world renown Yorkshire style hat makers Hanna Hats. The wonderful owner, Eleanor, offered to spend the afternoon introducing us to the key individuals that might have an interest in working with our eclectic little golf company. Excitingly, we were able to bring a few of these classic caps back to our shop in fabrics exclusively woven for Hanna Hats by local mills in County Donegal.
Our countryside drive continued toward Rosapenna Golf Resort to visit with our dear friend Frank Casey Jr. As we approached, we were struck by the cascading hills all around and their natural beauty. We threw our belongings into the room and climbed the stairs to the back deck. Once outside, we were thoroughly captivated by the statue of Old Tom Morris that resides behind the 18th green on the old course and was originally commissioned by the Casey Family. Almost like a sign of how far our journey had taken us, the hat worn by Old Tom resembled very closely what we had seen during our visit to Hanna Hats.
The most critical part to any GOLF trip is the GOLF, so I will take much of this post to illustrate the surrounding circumstances that lent well to a memorable experience. Our first round of golf took place on the short pitch and putt. I’d never seen anything like this but the moguls on each hole were so dramatic, and featured two pins a piece: one for golf, and the other for a foot ball.
Since Megan enjoyed soccer in her youth we decided that we’d play two balls on each hole. Golf and Soccer, all simultaneously. Each hole had some variation on the layout above, and gave opportunities for the ball to roll in all sorts of directions. Especially the soccer ball.
I asked Frank about how this course was designed, and in the most simplest form he suggested they just started mowing and used very little dirt movement. This sort of thing is a wave from the future and consistent with SEAMUS' unanimous love for new age Par 3’s like The Preserve at Bandon Dunes.
After this outing, we proceeded to play the back nine of the Old Tom Morris Course which represents an out and back format not too far off from the Old Course at St. Andrews, only it happens over the course of 9 holes and there are no shared greens. The evening we played was mythical in nature, with dark clouds surrounding the sky and moving briskly. No rain, as it turned out, but made for a dramatic effect at each hole.
Along the left, sunlit portion of the photo above, lay the Sandy Hills course primarily designed by Frank’s father, the proprietor of the property, Pat Ruddy, and later fine tuned by Beau Welling. Little shaping was done amongst some of the most dramatic and large dunes. It almost looked like the seed might have fallen from the sky, and the course gently shaped by hand.
Above is the spectacular view that did not disappoint from our room's balcony at Rosapenna. The evening brought the twinkling town's lights reflecting off the bay.
Teeing at 7:00, I was very impressed to get around in about 2:20.
In all, a gorgeous and memorable trip that we look forward to sharing again with friends in the near future. The footage below captures the breathtaking moments one experiences at Rosapenna Golf Resort in County Donegal Ireland.
Akbar "Chasing Rainbows"