The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (2023)

A traveller and a sports fan? Ireland is the place for you. You can watch worldwide talent and local sports all across the country.

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (1)

Sport is woven into the fabric of Irish culture and Irish life. Its influence is visibly evident in any Irish village, town, or city. Over half of the population of Ireland participates in Irish sports at least once per week.

As a sporting nation, the Emerald Isle caters for global sports and international events, such as tennis and swimming. Meanwhile, many also enjoy the indigenous sports of Gaelic football, hurling, and camogie.

Competing at county level and professional teams at international events, sport has long been a favoured pastime in Ireland.

Others even follow the faraway games of American football, Australian rules football, and basketball. Amongst this rainbow of choice for sports attendances, here are the five most popular sports in Ireland.

5. Golf – for the summer swing

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (2)

Rory McIlroy. Graeme McDowell. Padraig Harrington. You’ve heard of all those names, right? They are some of Ireland’s premier golfers and some of the very best in the world, proving the Irish success at the sport.

And withtalent like that, it is no surprise that golf is well-followed across theEmerald Isle. Ireland has some of the world’s finest golf courses, with theRoyal County Down course ranked amongst the top 100 courses outside the US.

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Ireland also played host to the 148th Open at the Royal Portrush Golf Club in County Antrim. It was won by Irishman Shane Lowry, one of the country’s most memorable events of 2019.

Golf Ireland is the national governing body for the sport in Ireland. The best time to play golf in Ireland is between May and September as weather conditions will be more suitable for the game.

With over 300 golf courses, including the famous K Club in County Kildare and Strandhill Golf Course in County Sligo, across the country to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

4. Athletics – for the fitness freaks

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (3)

One of the most popular sports in Ireland is athletics, whose national body in Ireland is the Athletics Association of Ireland (AAI).

Athleticsincludes track and field athletes, road running, race walking, cross-countryrunning, mountain running,and ultra-distance running.

Athletics is popular from schools right up to elite athletes. There are many popular and well-attended marathons across the country, such as in Belfast or Dublin, the Connemarathon in Galway, and the Wild Atlantic Ultra in Mayo.

This enthusiasm for athletics has culminated in much Irish success at the Olympics, with athletes such as Robert Heffernan, taking home medals in their events at recent Games.

(Video) The 5 Most Popular Sports in Ireland Include Ancient Gaelic Games:

Irish athletes often compete against athletes from other European countries and further afield at global sporting events.

3. Rugby – the best of Ireland on offer

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (4)

The Irish team has emerged as one of the best in world rugby over the last number of years, with the national team defeating the All Blacks on two occasions, two Six Nations’ titles in 2014 and 2015, and a famous Grand Slam in 2018.

The continued success of the national team has cultivated a love for the game in Ireland. It has garnered more interest in the public eye, with the Aviva Stadium in full voice when the Irish team takes to the field.

There are approximately 95,000 rugby players in Ireland, participating for 56 clubs in Ulster, 71 in Leinster, 59 in Munster, and 23 in Connacht, with the provincial team being the elite and professional team.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) is the national body for the sport in Ireland. The national team competes in various international events, such as the Six Nations.

Due to its contact nature, rugby is often considered among the most dangerous sports in the world. However that does not hinder its continued success in Ireland.

Ireland has also produced some of the best rugby players of all time in the likes of former stars Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell, or with the current crop that includes Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton.

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2. Soccer – the global game

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (5)

Soccer, or football as it is known abroad, is the most popular sport in the world with over three billion followers. It is absolutely no surprise that it ranks as one of the most popular sports in Ireland.

The islandof Ireland operates with two domestic leagues; one being the Irish League,which is played by teams in the north of the country, and the League of Ireland, which isprofessional and played by teams in the south, with the inclusion of Derry City.

Ireland’s national governing body of soccer is the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and the men’s soccer team rank 34th in the world, with the female team slightly higher at 32. In Northern Ireland, the national governing body is the Irish Football Association (IFA).

Soccer is accessible at a grassroots level and is regarded by 19% of Irish people as their favourite sport. It is also easy to find the sports bettingkubet69site where many people bet on this type of sports.

If there were odds on which is the most popular sport in Ireland, you might have guessed that the different betting sites in Ireland would have soccer down as the odds on favourite to the most popular sport, however, it ranks at number two.

1. Gaelic Games (GAA) – top pick for island of Ireland sports

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (6)

Following the release of the Teneo Sport and Sponsorship Index (TSSI) in 2018, Gaelic Games surpassed soccer as the most popular sport across Ireland for the first time in nine years.

The Gaelic Games are Ireland’s very own indigenous sports. They include handball and camogie, and two of the most popular sports, Gaelic football and hurling. All four are part of the national body, known as the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).

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Hurlingdates back thousands of years and is living proof of the sporting heart thatbeats through Irish culture. Gaelicfootball was first played 135 years ago. With over 2,200 GAA clubs across thecountry, the sport truly does have a special place in Irish communities.

Both hurling and football play 15 a-side, the aim being to score the most points; a goal counts for three and a shot over the bar counts for one. The pinnacle of the sport is the All-Ireland Senior Football Final, hosted in Croke Park, County Dublin, every summer.

There you have it, our top five Irish sports that can be found all across Ireland.

FAQs about Irish sports

What is Ireland’s main sport?

Gaelic football, which is sometimes described as a cross between football and rugby, is Ireland’s main sport. The All-Ireland Senior Football Championship is one of the biggest sporting events in the Irish sporting calendar.

What is the oldest sport in Ireland?

Hurling is not only known as the oldest sport in Ireland. It is also recognised as the oldest and fastest field game in the world.

What are the four Gaelic sports?

The four games that come under the Gaelic Athletic Association are Hurling, Gaelic Football, Handball, and Rounders. The various GAA finals is the biggest multi-sport event held in Ireland.

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (7)

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FAQs

What is the number 1 sport in Ireland? ›

Gaelic football was first played in Ireland in 1802 and has grown to be the most popular sport in Ireland. If you're taking a vacation to Ireland, you should put seeing a game of Gaelic football on your to-do list!

What are the most common sports in Ireland? ›

Gaelic Football, Soccer and Swimming are the most popular sports.

What is the number 1 popular sport? ›

While it may not be apparent in the United States, association football—also known as soccer—is the most popular sport in the world by a vast margin. Soccer is king in virtually all of Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, and Asia.

What is Ireland's oldest sport? ›

Hurling is one of the oldest field games in the world and is popular for at least 3000 years in Ireland with the first literary reference dating back to 1272 BC.

What sport did Ireland invent? ›

Hurling. Hurling (in Irish Iomànàìocht) is a very ancient sport with its roots in pre-Christian times invented by the celtic warriors. It has been played for over 3,000 years and it is one of the fastest field games in the world.

What is Ireland's national game? ›

Hurling is the national sport of Ireland, and by some estimates it is over 3,000 years old. It is considered the fastest and most skillful field game in the world. It incorporate elements of lacrosse, baseball, ice hockey, field hockey, soccer, rugby, football, and many other sports, although it predates them all.

What is the number 1 hardest sport? ›

Degree of Difficulty: Sport Rankings
SPORTENDRANK
Boxing8.631
Ice Hockey7.252
Football5.383
33 more rows

What is the most popular sport 2022? ›

1. Soccer. Soccer is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries, making it the world's most popular sport.

What is the top 10 hardest sport? ›

Top 10 hardest sports in order
  • Martial Arts.
  • Ice Hockey. ...
  • Gymnastics. ...
  • Basketball. ...
  • Soccer. ...
  • Wrestling. ...
  • Rugby. ...
  • Water Polo. A group of young men playing water polo in an indoor pool. ...
21 Jun 2022

Which sport is good for girls? ›

Basketball. Basketball is indeed the most loved sport among the girls. Schools and universities today encourage girls to participate in basketball competitions. It is a healthy way of developing competitive skills, social interactions and becoming a team player which is an important skill for life.

What sports do the Irish like? ›

The Irish are avid sports fans, especially of their native games of Gaelic football—a cross between football (soccer) and rugby—and hurling, which resembles a rough-and-tumble version of field hockey.

What is the fastest growing sport in Ireland? ›

The fastest growing sport in Ireland is Gaelic football, even though it is already at the top of the table. This growth is even bigger for women, believe it or not! There are more than 1,000 clubs in Ireland, and more and more are being created.

What is a unique Irish sport? ›

A uniquely Irish game, Hurling is one of the world's oldest field sports and has been played in some form in Ireland for more than 800 years. It is often compared to hockey but other than the fact that both games involve a stick and a ball there is no similarity. Some people have called it a mixture of hockey and war!

When was hurling banned? ›

The game was outlawed in the 12th century after the occupation by the Normans, Hurling continues to feature in Later Medieval Gaelic Irish and English sources, with the latter generally disapproving.

Was Ireland ever the Olympics? ›

2018. The Special Olympics Ireland Summer Games took place in Dublin. 1,600 athletes from all over Ireland took part in these Games. This was the first time in 16 years that the Ireland Games returned to Dublin.

What is the Irish sport called? ›

Hurling, one of the two national sporting games of Ireland, is seen as one of the fastest field sports on earth and only played with a facemask and helmet as protection, making injury an unavoidable feature of the game without further padding.

What are the two most popular Irish sports? ›

The Gaelic Games are Ireland's very own indigenous sports. They include handball and camogie, and two of the most popular sports, Gaelic football and hurling.

Did Ireland invent cricket? ›

The origins of cricket are pretty murky and despite some claims that the game was invented in Flanders (now Belgium), most believe it was invented in England many centuries ago.

What is Ireland's best Olympic sport? ›

Boxing however is by far Ireland's most successful sport at the games, accounting for more than 50% of the medals won.

Is golf an Irish sport? ›

Golf in the modern world originated from a game played on the eastern coast of Scotland during the 15th century. The game later spread throughout the (then) British Empire, including to Ireland.

Is cricket an Irish game? ›

Like several other sports in Ireland, cricket is organised on an all-Ireland basis. Following the team's success in the 2007 Cricket World Cup, the sport's popularity increased in Ireland.
...
Cricket in Ireland
CountryIreland
Governing bodyCricket Ireland
National team(s)Ireland
Club competitions
4 more rows

Is Ireland a rich or poor country? ›

Would you rather be rich in a poor country or poor in a rich one? Measuring how rich a country is not that easy (spoiler: it is not just about GDP).
...
Advertisement.
RankCountryGDP-PPP ($)
1Luxembourg140,694
2Singapore131,580
3Ireland124,596
4Qatar112,789
143 more rows
1 Aug 2022

Is Ireland snake free? ›

An unlikely tale, perhaps—yet Ireland is unusual for its absence of native snakes. It's one of only a handful of places worldwide—including New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, and Antarctica—where Indiana Jones and other snake-averse humans can visit without fear.

What is Ireland's nickname? ›

The Emerald Isle:

The Emerald Isle is a tribute to the green fields of Ireland and their forty shades of green, made famous by Johnny Cash. And the Ould Sod or Auld Sod is a reference to Ireland as a homeland, a country of origin.

What is the fastest growing sport in Ireland? ›

The fastest growing sport in Ireland is Gaelic football, even though it is already at the top of the table. This growth is even bigger for women, believe it or not! There are more than 1,000 clubs in Ireland, and more and more are being created.

What is Ireland's best Olympic sport? ›

Boxing however is by far Ireland's most successful sport at the games, accounting for more than 50% of the medals won.

What is the national game of Ireland? ›

Hurling, one of the two national sporting games of Ireland, is seen as one of the fastest field sports on earth and only played with a facemask and helmet as protection, making injury an unavoidable feature of the game without further padding.

What are the two most popular Irish sports? ›

The Gaelic Games are Ireland's very own indigenous sports. They include handball and camogie, and two of the most popular sports, Gaelic football and hurling.

Is football or hurling more popular? ›

As the ball doesn't move as fast as in hurling, players are much fitter and stronger and do much more running with the ball. Football is more popular than hurling in Ireland, and equally as exciting to watch.

What sport was invented in Ireland? ›

Hurling. Hurling (in Irish Iomànàìocht) is a very ancient sport with its roots in pre-Christian times invented by the celtic warriors. It has been played for over 3,000 years and it is one of the fastest field games in the world.

Has Ireland ever won the Olympics? ›

History was made by Team Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics. For the first time Ireland won gold medals in different sports. It was also the first time that both men and women earned that precious gold. It is the 22nd time we've competed in the Summer Olympic Games, and we've earned eleven gold medals so far.

How many times has Ireland won Olympics? ›

Ireland has won 11 gold medals in the Olympics - in total 9 Irish athletes have won a gold medal. Ireland has won 10 silver medals in the Olympics - in total 12 Irish athletes have won a silver medal. Ireland has won 14 bronze medals in the Olympics - in total 16 Irish athletes have won a bronze medal.

Did Ireland ever hold the Olympics? ›

Ireland's Tailteann games: forgotten Gaelic 'Olympics' that shaped a democracy. In the summer of 1924, Ireland did something extraordinary: it hosted the biggest sporting event in the world that year – bigger, even, than the Paris Olympics.

Is hurling the fastest sport in the world? ›

The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins. It is over 3,000 years old, and is said to be the world's fastest field game. It combining skills from lacrosse, field hockey, and baseball in a hard-hitting, highly paced game. The sliotar can travel up to 180 kilometres per hour over the course of a game!

Is cricket an Irish game? ›

Like several other sports in Ireland, cricket is organised on an all-Ireland basis. Following the team's success in the 2007 Cricket World Cup, the sport's popularity increased in Ireland.
...
Cricket in Ireland
CountryIreland
Governing bodyCricket Ireland
National team(s)Ireland
Club competitions
4 more rows

What is soccer called in Ireland? ›

Association football (Irish: Sacar) commonly referred to as football or Soccer, is the team sport with the highest level of participation in the Republic of Ireland (with five-a-side games being included).

What sports do the Irish like? ›

The Irish are avid sports fans, especially of their native games of Gaelic football—a cross between football (soccer) and rugby—and hurling, which resembles a rough-and-tumble version of field hockey.

Is rugby big in Ireland? ›

Rugby union in Ireland is a very popular team sport. Rugby union is organised on an all-Ireland basis with one national team, governing body and league for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

What is a unique Irish sport? ›

A uniquely Irish game, Hurling is one of the world's oldest field sports and has been played in some form in Ireland for more than 800 years. It is often compared to hockey but other than the fact that both games involve a stick and a ball there is no similarity. Some people have called it a mixture of hockey and war!

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