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Lough Erne

A decade after the end of the Troubles that divided Northern Ireland in two, the region’s stability has sparked a boom in tourism and tourist developments. Among the many signs of this prosperity and optimism is Lough Erne, the first true golf resort in Northern Ireland. The resort opened in late 2007 on a peninsula between Lower Lough Erne and Castle Hume Lough, a 90-minute drive west of Belfast. The property’s golf course is the work of England’s Nick Faldo, and nearly every hole is either on or within viewing distance of the water. The hotel at Lough Erne was built to recall days of yore, with peaked roofs, chimneys, and even turrets. The dark-wood decor in the public spaces evokes a British men’s club. Accommodations The resort’s 120 guest rooms and 25 lodges (perfect for traveling foursomes) feature soaring ceilings and elegant appointments. Dining Chef Noel McMeel, a Northern Irishman who trained under Alice Waters in the United States, transforms local beef, lamb, and fish—and vegetables besides potatoes—into haute cuisine. Facilities The resort’s Thai Spa employs experts at using their hands and feet to unknot mashed muscles. The therapists offer both pre- and post-golf treatments that are sure to ease the pain incurred on the Faldo track or any other nearby course. Recreation Such classic links as Portrush, County Sligo, and Ballyliffin are within a few hours’ drive of Lough Erne. The concierge can schedule tee times at these and other courses, as well as arrange for fishing or water sports on the lough, walking and cycling tours, horseback riding, and helicopter and seaplane trips. Rates From about $175 to $1,900.

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