An Open Invitation

Padraig Harrington....Rory McIlroy....Graeme McDowell....Darren Clarke…and that’s just the all island Irish major winners line up for this year’s Irish Open...

Following the hugely successful Irish Open at Royal Portrush last June, The European Tour and Golf Ireland are looking forward to the 2013 edition and the opportunity to recreate the popularity of the event in front of equally huge crowds when the Irish Open returns to Dublin’s doorstep, at the Montgomerie Course at Carton House, Co Kildare. From June 27-30, some of the world’s top players will walk in the footsteps of Denmark’s Thomas Bjørn, who won the title when The Irish Open was last played at Carton House in 2006. Book tickets for this fantastic event here

Ireland’s latest golfing champions – Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and our Golf Ireland Official Ambassador, Pádraig Harrington – will be playing at this year’s Irish Open. They’ll be joined by a host of national and international top golfing stars, including 2014 Ryder Cup Captain, Paul McGinley and Carton House’s touring professional Shane Lowry, as they battle to secure the tournament’s first home win since Lowry’s amazing victory as an amateur, at County Louth Golf Club in 2009.

It’s a welcome return to one of the finest golf courses, not just in Ireland but the world. At full stretch – 7,300 yards – Colin Montgomerie’s links-like design is championship stuff, set against truly breath-taking scenery, and offers some of the most challenging golf imaginable. For serious golfers with a qualified handicap, it’s a chance to test their skills in a tournament where dreams have come true, and legends made. But you don’t need to take part to be there. Join thousands of golf fanatics for an unforgettable experience on and off the course. You can anticipate nerve-racking putts, heart-breaking shots into the water and sublime tee shots. And you can expect a long list of global golf stars to be there. We hope you will be too.

Host Venue: Carton House
Carton House dates back to the 17th Century and was formerly the ancestral home of the Fitzgerald’s, Earls of Kildare – this all-encompassing playground is spread across a 1,100-acre private, parkland estate, featuring two golf courses, a leisure centre with pool, spa, training pitches and tennis courts.

Located just 14 miles west of Dublin City Centre and 30 minutes away from Dublin Airport, it's the perfect escape for a round of golf at two of Ireland's finest championship golf courses: the more senior O’Meara, which opened for play in 2002, and the Montgomerie (The Monty), which opened the following year.

Both are contrasting in style: The O’Meara is park-like and the Montgomerie is links-like, stretching out to a massive 7,300 yards from the championship tees. Both courses are Quality Assured golf courses, approved to Fáilte Ireland standards, which means its services and facilities have been independently checked before you tee-off. Carton House is looking forward to opening its doors to the Irish Open from Thursday to Sunday, June 27-30, 2013. Host venue to The Irish Open in 2005 and again in 2006, Carton House was awarded winner of Golf Resort of the Year Europe 2008 and Best New Golf Course Design 2004 by Golf World magazine.

The Monty Course

The Montgomerie Course, designed by seven-time European Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie, is inspired by the greatest links lands of the world and pays tribute to the traditions of the game by setting a challenge like no other. It is a journey across sweeping fairways, head-high pot bunkers and impeccable greens. There is a great mix of holes, long par fours backed up with tricky short ones. The bunkers are penal and strategically placed, many being well over head high with dauntingly steep faces. This encourages the kind of strategic play that helps to make golf so fascinating.

K-Club’s Arnold Palmer-designed inland links course, or for 18 holes of heathland and history, visit The Curragh.

At The Curragh, you’ll find much more than just great golf, with Kildare’s other passion – horses – on full display. The Curragh Racecourse is the place to see some of the world’s most famous horse races, including the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, which is taking place the same weekend as the Irish Open.

If you’re craving even more action, don’t miss Super Sports Saturday on 29 June: join friends and catch the Lions rugby match in the morning before heading out to watch the golf; complete your day by putting on your chicest clothes and attending the Derby. There’s even a special ticket offer, so you can enjoy the Irish Open and the Derby for only €50 (include ticketing website?).

Don’t let that be the end of your experience in Kildare, though. Stop into Leixlip’s Springfield Hotel for a traditional carvery meal or visit the Glenroyal Hotel’s Saints Bar which will offer traditional music and barbecue during the Irish Open. If shopping is more your cup of tea, take a trip to Naas or Newbridge, two towns with plenty of stores to browse. Or, combine your shopping with a bit of heritage by visiting Castletown House in Celbridge for its Country Market and Crafts Fair on Sunday. June 27th - 30th - Kildare is the place to be.

5 reasons to get off the golf course

1. Visit Co Kildare’s heritage sites, including St Brigid’s Cathedral and Round Tower which date back to the 13th century

2. Enjoy a family day out at Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park, home to heritage exhibits, a play area, pet farm, woodland walks, crazy golf and more

3. See magnificent horses at the Irish National Stud and tour the world-famous Japanese Gardens.

4. Get your thrills at Mondello Park, where you can try your hand at motor racing in a safe environment

5. Unwind with live music and indulge in great food at the many restaurants, pubs and bars found in Maynooth, Celbridge and Leixlip.