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The 5 Most Popular Sports in Ireland Include Ancient Gaelic Games

Ireland has a fantastic sporting heritage, and enthusiasm for all sports is rife throughout the country, from junior and amateur levels all the way up to international professionals. The five most popular sports in Ireland, Gaelic football, hurling, soccer, and horse racing being spectator and participant sports. Let’s not forget golf is a sociable activity in Ireland that brings people together, whether joining a club or team or simply watching in the pub.


As such, an Ireland Sports Tour to attend sporting events or to compete as a team can be a great way to see the country and meet people while enjoying your favorite sport. In addition to huge support for the mainstream European sports such as football, rugby, and golf, Ireland has many of its own sports that are followed fanatically and have begun to grow thanks to the large Irish expatriate communities worldwide.

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Gaelic Football

The most popular sport in Ireland is Gaelic football, which has more in common with rugby or Australian-rules football than association football. Normally played by teams of 15 over two halves of around 30 minutes on a large grass pitch, the aim is to score more points than the other team. Points are scored by either kicking or punching the ball over the crossbar of the H-frame goal or into the net. Gaelic football matches can attract large, passionate support, especially at senior levels. No sporting tour of Ireland would be complete without seeing one for yourself.

Hurling – another ancient Gaelic Sport

The second most popular sport in Ireland is hurling, an ancient sport also of Gaelic origin, and shares many of the features of Gaelic football. Played on the same pitch, with the same goals, several players, and a scoring system, the difference is in the manner of play. Players use a flattened wooden stick with a curved end, known as a hurley, to strike the sliotar, a small leather ball somewhat similar to a baseball.

Attempt to score points for their team. Good players can hurl the sliotar at great speeds over enormous distances. As such, injuries are not uncommon, but hurling remains a popular and intensely exciting sport to watch or play and another must-see for any Irish sporting tour.

Golf in Ireland

For those who prefer more tranquil sports and pastimes, Ireland has much to offer to keen golfers. Although more traditionally associated with Scotland, Ireland has a rich golfing history and many of its courses have been played on for hundreds of years. The more sedate pace of golf allows those on an Ireland Sports Tour a more leisurely opportunity to meet and socialize with local players whilst taking in the picturesque scenery of one of the Emerald Isles many fantastic links, and of course a visit to the clubhouse to tee off on the “19th hole!”

Soccer (Football)

Despite being stuck in the shadow of more traditional Gaelic sports, the worlds most popular sport does thrive in Ireland, and soccer, association football, or just plain football fans can always find something to keep them occupied, particularly in the cities. Whilst the media are predominantly focused on the Scottish and English Leagues, there are many competitive teams in Ireland and it is well worth your while to take in a match if you are there in season, as the Irish bring the same vociferous support and enthusiasm to football as to any of their other pastimes.

Horse Racing

Of course, there are many other sports and events in Ireland, such as horse racing; though horse racing is not something you can challenge as a team, it can be enjoyed as a spectator. However, no matter what your particular game, it is an odds-on bet that an Ireland Sports Tour will fit the bill, and you will find it enjoyable.

Ireland is a popular destination for all sorts of sports enthusiasts; the people are welcoming and friendly and often happy to arrange friendly match-ups for those on sporting tours. In addition, this can be an excellent way to meet the local Irish people, mingling with the natives as you toast victory or mourn defeat with your new friends in the pub or clubhouse.

Travel Tips for Team Play or Spectators

If you are a sports fan, team member, sports coach, or group leader, look for a reputable company to handle your tour arrangements and Ireland sports travel vacations. Whether you want to go to Ireland as a spectator or arrange for your sports team to go to Ireland and challenge the Irish, it is important to work best due to the logistics involved with sporting events and games.

Taylor Hill, author, sports enthusiast, and world traveler. If you are a sports fan, coach, sports team member, or group leader, look for a reputable company to handle your tour arrangements for sports travel vacations [] to arrange for your sports team to come to Ireland and challenge the Irish.

TSI takes care of all the logistics for sports teams traveling to Ireland, group vacations and Ireland Sports Tours []. Travel Solutions Ireland is a reputable Irish tour operator in Dublin with 37 years experience visit

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