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Like many countries around the world, sport is a common pastime in Ireland. With some homegrown games and other international sports, these are the top five sports Irish people love.
Sports play a huge part in all areas of life in Ireland. From school games to professional level, personal hobbies to spectator events, sport is one of the most common pastimes across the island.
According to statistics, over half the population of Ireland takes part in sports at least once a week. So, there is no denying that it has a huge influence on life in the country.
With Olympic medalists representing the country and bringing home gold to world-class footballers competing in events such as the World Cup, Ireland’s sporting prowess is one to be admired.
So, if you’re a sporting fanatic planning a visit to the Emerald Isle, these are the top five sports Irish people love.
- Boxing – various global successes
Boxing has been a popular sport in Ireland for over 100 years. However, the sport has grown hugely in popularity across Ireland in recent years, with talented Irish boxers making a big mark on the global stage.
The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) is the national governing body for amateur boxing, which was founded in 1911.
Some of the biggest names in Irish boxing are Steve Collins from Dublin, Barry McGuigan from County Monaghan, and Carl Frampton from Belfast.
Recently, Irish boxers such as Kellie Harrington, Kurt Walker, and Katie Taylor have proved hugely successful on the world stage. So, boxing is certainly one of the sports Irish people love.
- Rugby – over 95,000 rugby players in Ireland
Ireland ranks among one of the best in the world in rugby, with the national team proving hugely successful in global sporting events.
In recent years, Ireland has won two Six Nations titles, one in 2014 and one in 2015, and a Grand Slam in 2018. Going from strength to strength, Ireland’s talent for the sport has proven incredibly impressive.
Rugby is a popular sport in Ireland, from school right through to professional level, with big games proving hugely important events in the Irish sporting calendar for many.
On a more local level, rugby in Ireland is split into the four provinces, with teams competing for Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Connacht. Overall, there is said to be over 95,000 rugby players across the whole island.
Ireland has also produced some of the most talented rugby players of all time, with names such as Brian O’Driscoll, Jonny Sexton, and Paul O’Connell being huge names in the game.
- Golf – four world-class golf courses
Thanks to its abundance of world-class golf courses, it is no surprise that golf is one of the sports that Irish people love.
Brilliant courses across the country, such as the Royal Portrush, The K Club, and Portmarnock, have played host to international sporting events, such as The Open.
Plus, with luxury resorts offering fantastic golf courses, there are plenty of places around the island you can go for an unforgettable golf break.
The Emerald Isle has also produced some of the biggest names in golf in recent years. Golfers such as Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell, and Padraig Harrington have firmly cemented Ireland’s status as a talented golfing nation.
While the Irish weather is not always best suited for the sport, the months between May and September tend to be mildest. Thus, the sport proves most popular in Ireland throughout the summer.
- Football – one of the most popular sports in the world
With over three billion followers worldwide, the game of football, or soccer, is perhaps the most popular and most followed sport in the world. The Emerald Isle is no exception to this rule.
Ireland plays host to two domestic football leagues, which are the League of Ireland and the Irish League. The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) acts as the official governing body of the sport across Ireland.
Contrasting with rugby, both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland compete as separate national teams in football at world sporting events.
Some of the most notable players to emerge from Ireland include Roy Keane, George Best, and Robbie Keane.
- GAA – Ireland’s very own sporting association
The Gaelic Games tops our list of sports Irish people love. Gaelic football, hurling, handball, and camogie all come under the umbrella of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), which is Ireland’s very own homegrown sporting association.
Gaelic Games prove popular in Ireland from school level right through to professional, and major sporting events prove to be some of the most important dates in the Irish calendar.
Gaelic football proves popular in Irish towns, as local areas compete against one another. The pinnacle of the Irish sporting calendar is the All Ireland Football Final, which sees counties compete for the coveted prize each year.