Irish sports

Irish sports

If you're searching for sports enthusiasts, look no farther than Ireland. Whatever the sport, the Irish support their favorite teams with unbridled enthusiasm. The following are some of the most popular sporting activities in Ireland.


Native to Ireland this game predates Christianity and is known as one the fastest field sports. The face of Hurling has changed since the early days when the goals were set up in different villages. The players, each armed with a hurling stick (a 3 to 4 four foot wooden club) would race through hedges and forests, ditches and ponds to hurl the ball into the goal. Since the opposing team was doing their best to prevent this from happening, the action was wild and it’s easy to imagine that hurling sticks were used for purposes other than batting the ball.

The current version of the game is much more civilized. On a standard sized, grass playing pitch, two teams of 15 players attempt to pass and hit the ball over or through a crossbar at opposite ends of the field.

Gaelic Football

This sport is played with similar rules, but no stick is used. Football is also akin to soccer, a game of precision footwork, with minimal use of hands.


Soccer is another field sport which is big in Ireland. The best Irish players often go abroad to make a living, but frequently return to play on national teams which compete for the World Cup. These teams are comprised of players from local and overseas clubs who all claim Irish ancestry.

Equestrian Activities

Horses are a big business in Ireland, and Irish breeders have a reputation for top quality. Favorite equestrian sports are show jumping and horse racing. Thanks to their moist climate, Ireland has the best grass on the planet, which in turn results in some of the best horse flesh to be found. Every town has an equestrian center, and local breeders abound.


Once again the famous grass comes into play. Ireland has over 300 golf courses, which attract local enthusiasts as well as a multitude of tourists. The mild climate affords year round play, as long as one doesn’t mind a bit ‘o the wet - rain that is. Famously well tended, many of these courses earn the coveted "Championship" designation.

Other popular sports are Rugby, Motor Rally, Hill Walking and Cycling. If you’re a sports fan, you’ll feel right at home in Ireland.

See also:

Cultural Map of Ireland