A brand-new links golf course 28 years in the making is finally getting closer to fruition in southeast Ireland.
Shovels are set to break ground soon on Curracloe Links, a Dana Fry and Jason Straka design that will debut in 2026. The 6,600-yard, par-70 golf course will be a part of the new Ravenport Resort, a luxury hotel with 50 rooms, a spa and leisure club in Wexford. Ravenport Resort, developed by the Neville Hotel Group, will open this spring, overlooking Ireland's most famous beach, Curracloe Beach, where Steven Spielberg filmed the opening scene in the film "Saving Private Ryan."
Seamus Neville, head of the family-owned Neville Hotel Group, has spent nearly three decades working through various permitting issues to get proper approval to build the course. "He's stuck with it for 28 years. He kept applying and reapplying (for environmental permitting)," said Marcus Doyle, the director of golf at Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort, south of Dublin. "It's a labor of love for the Neville family. They are Wexford people. They are bringing a golf course that's entirely unique to both Ireland and Scotland to their home county. It's exciting."
The new golf resort will operate separately from The Druid's Glen Hotel & Golf Resort, which the Neville Hotel Group bought for a reported €45 million in 2019, adding to a portfolio that includes the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire, the Tower Hotel in Waterford City and the Kilkenny River Court Hotel.
Straka feels honored for the chance to build what could be one of the last links courses ever designed on the Emerald Isle. "We've got unbelievable links terrain. Some of the bottoms of the dunes, the kettle holes, are (really cool)," he said. "The one at 17 has to be 30 or 40 feet deep. We just integrated it into the golf hole. It's cool that it's a short par 5. There's a lot of really fun green settings. A lot of people will remember them."
A ridge divides the 160-acre property. Some holes offer sea views, while others stare off into the beautiful Irish countryside. It's very walkable land. Water will come into play on the first and 18th holes, which is rare - but not unheard of - for an Irish links.
"One of my favorite parts of the property doesn't even have the water views," Straka said. "It is surrounded by sheep farms. It is quintessential Ireland with a backdrop of the rock walls and sheep everywhere. You definitely have a sense of place. It's geared toward fun, resort-style golf and tourism. We're not looking to host the Irish Open. That is not what this is all about."
The €20-million Ravenport Resort is adding 22 villas specifically made for foursomes of golfers. Outside will be a lighted putting green/putting course. The clubhouse will feature an Irish whiskey bar. Everything will be top class in an attempt to lure traveling golfers down a road they've never traveled previously.
Where is Curracloe Links?
Curracloe Links is only about 75 minutes south of the 36-hole Druids Glen resort, which is home to its namesake course, Druids Glen, that has been called the "Augusta of Ireland"; and Druids Heath, a windswept heathland experience. A recent multi-million-dollar restoration of both courses and the accommodations in beautiful County Wicklow - nicknamed the "Garden of Ireland" - has reinvigorated that property as well. "I pinch myself every day," Doyle said of the upgrades.
Curracloe Links is uniquely positioned between Druids Glen and The European Club (an hour north) and Old Head Golf Links (three hours south). Wexford and the nearby Rosslare Harbor are popular summer beach towns known for their fresh seafood restaurants.
To the Neville family, this project isn't about another building and some well manicured grass. It means much more.
"With Seamus, there is more than just the business side of it. He said, 'This is our family legacy. We live here. This is our home'," Straka said. "This is much more important than just another business dealing in Dublin or some other place where they have a hotel. He said, 'We want to make sure we are giving back to the community. We want to build it as good as we possibly can.' They are invested in doing things well, doing it the right way. It's all of the amenities and things that make a place special. He realizes that."