COUNTY KILDARE, Ireland -- Carton House, a magnificent cut-stone Georgian mansion home to 165 rooms and suites, transformed into a hotel in 2006.
Carton House was commissioned in 1739, contained within a 1,100-acre estate surrounded by walls just 30 minutes outside Dublin. The two courses at Carton House Golf Club, the O'Meara Course and the Montgomerie Course, provide a stark contrast to one another.
The Montgomerie Course, a 7,301-yard inland links, is dotted with 130 cavernous bunkers. Mark O'Meara designed his more forgiving 7,006-yard parkland course in 2002. Its wide fairways give way to large, tricky greens. A valley containing the Rye River, a tributary of the River Liffey, provides holes No. 14-16, a stretch that Carton House Director of Golf Francis Howley calls "our Amen Corner." The two par 3s, and the scenic par-5 15th, play dramatically over water.