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 are Ireland's most popular sports? ›

Association football (soccer) is the most played team sport in Ireland. Gaelic football, hurling, golf, aerobics, cycling, swimming and billiards/snooker are the other sporting activities with the highest levels of playing participation in the Republic of Ireland.

What professional sports are played in Ireland? ›

Soccer and rugby are also very popular sports. Soccer in Ireland is played generally to a semi-professional level while rugby has become professional in recent years. Other traditional Irish sports in Ireland are horse-racing, fishing, handball and of course golf.

What's more popular hurling or Gaelic football? ›

Gaelic football:

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 is the oldest sport in Ireland? ›

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 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 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 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

Do Irish people call it soccer? ›

The terms "football" and "soccer" are used interchangeably in Ireland's media. In most of Ulster, the northern province in Ireland, especially in Northern Ireland, East Donegal and Inishowen, association football is usually referred to as 'football' while Gaelic football is usually referred to as 'Gaelic'.

What is the most popular sport in the world 2022? ›

Football/Soccer

The sport has roughly 3.5 billion fans worldwide and 250 million players across 200 countries around the world. The next most popular sports in the world are cricket (2.5 billion fans), basketball (2.2 billion fans), and field hockey (2 billion).

Is Gaelic football older than soccer? ›

Gaelic Football can be described as a mixture of soccer and rugby, although it predates both of those games.

What is the least popular sport? ›

11 Least Popular Sports in the World
  1. 1 | Kabbadi. Kabbadi is the national sport of Bangladesh and, from what I can tell, it's a mix of rugby without a ball and red rover.
  2. 2 | Motocross/motorcycle racing. ...
  3. 3 | Fencing. ...
  4. 4 | Polo. ...
  5. 5 | Archery. ...
  6. 6 | Sailing. ...
  7. 7 | Canadian football. ...
  8. 8 | Weightlifting. ...
19 Mar 2018

Which sport is the richest sport? ›

Football is the richest sport in the world with a Net Worth of around $600 Billion. Football is played by around 250 million people, often known as soccer, throughout 200 nations around the world.

What sport is the hardest? ›

Boxing. The Sweet Science. That's the sport that demands the most from the athletes who compete in it. It's harder than football, harder than baseball, harder than basketball, harder than hockey or soccer or cycling or skiing or fishing or billiards or any other of the 60 sports we rated.

Is Ireland a rich or poor country? ›

In terms of GDP per capita, Ireland is ranked as one of the wealthiest countries in the OECD and the EU-27, at 4th in the OECD-28 rankings.

Is Ireland snake free? ›

"There are no snakes in Ireland for the simple reason they couldn't get there because the climate wasn't favorable for them to be there," he said. Other reptiles didn't make it either, except for one: the common or viviparous lizard.

How many billionaires are in Ireland? ›

There is, of course, a lot of home-grown wealth here too and according to the Forbes World's Billionaire list we currently have nine Irish billionaires worth a collective $54.8bn. At the top of that list is Pallonji Mistry who is an engineering and construction mogul and has a fortune of $15bn.

Is hurling the fastest sport in the world? ›

Hurling is thought to pre-date Christianity, and the sport was standardized by the GAA in 1884. It has been coined as the “fastest field sport in the world” due to the high velocity the sliotar can achieve during play. Most hand injuries are sustained from being struck by a hurley.

How old is Irish hurling? ›

The game of Hurling has prehistoric origins and has been played in Ireland for at least 3,000 years years in Ireland with the first literary reference dating back to 1272 BC. In historical texts the earliest reference to hurling appears to have been made about 1272 BC at the battle of Moytura, near Cong in County Mayo.

Why is it called hurling? ›

The first written reference to hurling dates back to 1272 BC. It is a stick and ball game, played by teams of 15 on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end. The stick that we use is called a 'hurley', or a camán in the Irish language, while the ball is called a sliotar.

What is sport in Irish? ›

Different Sports Vocabulary In Irish Language
Irish GaelicEnglishCategory
reathaíochtrunningCluiche aonair
rothaíochtcyclingCluiche aonair
rugbaírugbyCluiche foirne
sacarsoccerCluiche foirne
20 more rows
13 Sept 2021

Is hurling violent? ›

Even though a sliotar can travel at over 150 kilometres (93 miles) per hour, and hurling is generally considered one of the most dangerous sports in the world, the wearing of helmets during matches only became compulsory six years ago.

What is the Irish bird? ›

The northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) was declared the Republic of Ireland's national bird by a committee of the Irish Wildlife Conservancy in 1990.

Is rugby big in Ireland? ›

Rugby Playing Figures

As one of the most popular team sports in Ireland, there are thousands of players who enjoy the game on a daily basis. In primary schools alone, there are over 32,209 children who play rugby. While there are around 21,740 adult male rugby players, there are only about 1,700 women who play.

What sport in Ireland has low score wins? ›

Golf is unique: it's the only sport in which the Lowest Score Wins. Golfers have been inundated for years with advice and sayings intended to help them shoot lower scores, like “spend 50% of your time practicing your putting” or “you've got to be in the short grass.”

Is cricket big in Ireland? ›

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
National team(s)Ireland
Club competitions
Euro T20 Slam
International competitions
4 more rows

What's the easiest sport? ›

Here's a list of easy sports that can be picked up easily without material time or money investment:
  • Badminton. Hands down, one of the easiest and most rewarding sport to learn is Badminton. ...
  • Swimming. Swimming is a sport that can be learned at any age. ...
  • Cycling. ...
  • Table Tennis. ...
  • Volleyball.

What game do most girls play? ›

During a 2019 survey, 39 percent of female gamers stated that they played Pokémon Go, while a further 34 percent played the battle royale game Fortnite.

Which sport is best for 6 year old girl? ›

For 6 to 9 year olds consider organised activities such as running, football, touch rugby, gymnastics, swimming, tennis and martial arts.

Can my 2 year old play soccer? ›

Two year old children can play soccer and have fun if you follow a few simple guidelines. Kids can have have a blast and develop motor skills with a soccer ball at the same time, as soon as they can walk. You don't need protective equipment at first, like shin guards or goalie gloves.

Can a 3 year old play baseball? ›

With our T-ball program, children as young as 3 or 4 years can learn more about batting, throwing, catching, and fielding a baseball.

What is the hardest sport in the world 2022? ›

Boxing. On the list of the top 10 hardest sports in the world, boxing comes in first. Both participants in the two-player combat sport wear protective gloves and other safety gear when they engage in battle.

Is swim the hardest sport? ›

Swimming is one of the most difficult sports. Swimmers use every part of the body, train yearlong, and require more self-control and technique. Maintaining activeness in swimming makes it one of the most difficult sports to compete in. Swimming uses every muscle in the body.

Is rugby the hardest sport? ›

Let down a little by skill, boxing still scores high enough to earn a place in the top three toughest sports in the world, scraping ahead of rugby (which also scored 40 points) because it was felt the mentality of going into a sport knowing you were about to be punched and hit deserved to win the tie.

What is Irish football called? ›

Gaelic football is played with a ball that is slightly smaller than that used in soccer, while in hurling players use a stick - or hurley - to strike the ball, called a sliotar, which is similar in size to a hockey ball. Hurling is believed to the oldest and fastest field sport in the world.

Is soccer big in Ireland? ›

Soccer in Ireland has always been near the top of the most popular sports to be played and watched in the country. We like to get behind our nation in the international games and cheer them on. Whether it is in participation or spectating, people adore the game.

Who invented the word soccer? ›

Brits coined the term soccer in the late 1800s to refer to Association Football, the sport we now know as soccer/football. "Soccer" was picked as a way to differentiate from another kind of football—Rugby Football.

Which country is best in sports? ›

Best Countries Rankings
  • #1. Canada.
  • #2. Japan.
  • #3. Germany.
  • #4. Switzerland.
  • #5. Australia.
24 Feb 2016

What is the most popular sport in the world right now 2021? ›

1. Soccer/Football. With around 4 billion fans across the globe, soccer is the top dog in terms of popularity.

What is world's oldest sport? ›

Polo first appeared in Persia around 2,500 years ago, making it the oldest known team sport… and one for the rich and wealthy, as team members had to have their own horse. And these games were huge - elite training matches with the king's cavalry could see up to 100 mounted players per side.

Do GAA players get paid? ›

"You don't get paid as players and we know that, but I don't see any problem with them making a few quid outside of playing in Croke Park. In fact I'd encourage it," says Twamley, whose Dublin-based agency represents more than 100 GAA players, past and present.

How long is a GAA game? ›

Duration. The majority of adult football and all minor and under-21 matches last for 60 minutes, divided into two halves of 30 minutes, with the exception of senior inter-county games, which last for 70 minutes (two halves of 35 minutes).

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.

Is Ireland a rich or poor country? ›

In terms of GDP per capita, Ireland is ranked as one of the wealthiest countries in the OECD and the EU-27, at 4th in the OECD-28 rankings.

What is Ireland's most successful sport in the Olympics? ›

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 oldest sport in Ireland? ›

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 is sport in Irish? ›

Different Sports Vocabulary In Irish Language
Irish GaelicEnglishCategory
reathaíochtrunningCluiche aonair
rothaíochtcyclingCluiche aonair
rugbaírugbyCluiche foirne
sacarsoccerCluiche foirne
20 more rows
13 Sept 2021

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 is the most popular sport in the world 2022? ›

Football/Soccer

The sport has roughly 3.5 billion fans worldwide and 250 million players across 200 countries around the world. The next most popular sports in the world are cricket (2.5 billion fans), basketball (2.2 billion fans), and field hockey (2 billion).

Which country is No 1 poor country? ›

1. Niger. A combination of a GNI per capita of $906, life expectancy of 60.4 years, and a mean 2 years of schooling (against an expected 5.4) lead to Niger topping the UN's human development report as the world's poorest country.

Is Ireland a 1st world country? ›

Ireland is a first-world country, but with a third-world memory. Though largely white, Anglophone and westernized, Ireland histori- cally was in the paradoxical position of being a colony within Europe.

Which country is No 1 rich country? ›

The world's richest nations are no longer as surprising as they were 20 years ago. They are the countries that are often considered global financial centers and attract numerous companies with low tax rates.
...
The 50 richest countries in the world.
RankCountryAdjusted GDP/capita
2Singapore116,486 $
3Ireland106,456 $
4Qatar93,521 $
5Bermuda85,192 $
46 more rows

Is Ireland in the Olympics? ›

On January 24, 2022, the Irish team of six athletes (four men and two women) competing in five sports was named.
...
Ireland at the 2022 Winter Olympics
Flag bearer (closing)Thomas Hjalmar Westgård
MedalsGold 0 Silver 0 Bronze 0 Total 0
Winter Olympics appearances (overview)
1992 1994 1998 2002 2006 2010 2014 2018 2022
7 more rows

Who won Ireland's first Olympic medal? ›

In 1928 Ireland as an independent nation had its first Olympic gold medal at Amsterdam with Dr. Pat OCallaghans unexpected victory in the Hammer event. At the time he was barely out of the novice class and he had been included in the Irish Team mainly to gain experience of top-class competition.

How many Olympic golds has Ireland won? ›

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.

Is hurling the fastest sport in the world? ›

Hurling is thought to pre-date Christianity, and the sport was standardized by the GAA in 1884. It has been coined as the “fastest field sport in the world” due to the high velocity the sliotar can achieve during play. Most hand injuries are sustained from being struck by a hurley.

How old is Irish hurling? ›

The game of Hurling has prehistoric origins and has been played in Ireland for at least 3,000 years years in Ireland with the first literary reference dating back to 1272 BC. In historical texts the earliest reference to hurling appears to have been made about 1272 BC at the battle of Moytura, near Cong in County Mayo.

Why is it called hurling? ›

The first written reference to hurling dates back to 1272 BC. It is a stick and ball game, played by teams of 15 on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end. The stick that we use is called a 'hurley', or a camán in the Irish language, while the ball is called a sliotar.

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