They lie along Ireland’s western and northern coastline like treasures from a shipwreck quietly washed ashore. Golf links inspiring deep local pride, they haven’t yet achieved the renown of Atlantic-shore neighbors Lahinch and Ballybunion. Be advised, however: Strategically and aesthetically they rival the top seaside courses of any other nation.

Introduce yourself to the bumpy, bristled and wave-washed linksland of Clare, Mayo, Donegal and Sligo, Irish counties where, mile upon mile, the scenic power of the landscape outdoes a visitor’s capacity to savor it. Reading these pages, you will likely find yourself reaching for a map to plot your way onto the fescue fairways depicted. Some of the mileage shown on that map will be along “dual carriageways” (Irish for divided highways), but much of it is over ribbony roads that first did duty as herdsmen’s lanes. Travelers of today will find them still framed by smooth, green, sheep-speckled hillsides.

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