Ireland is a beautiful land of unforgettable landscapes, stunning architecture and tastebud-tingling cuisine that has diners the world over coming to sample the local produce.
The Irish people are a passionate bunch too, especially when you get them started on the subject of sport.
This is a country with countless opportunities to attend first-class sporting occasions played out in typically Irish raucous fashion!
So, if you want be a part of the action, here’s five huge sporting events you can’t afford to miss in Ireland.
1. Six Nations Rugby
One of the most spine-tingling atmospheres in Irish sport can be found at the Aviva Stadium, which plays host to Ireland’s Six Nations rugby matches.
Winners in three of the last six editions of the tournament, it will be all change for Ireland in 2020 with Andy Farrell replacing Joe Schmidt as head coach.
They will be looking to get back into the winner’s circle after losing out to Wales in 2019, and they will have an ideal chance to get into the form in the autumn’s World Cup in Japan.
In 2020, Ireland will host Scotland, Wales and Italy in the Six Nations, and the sheer noise generated inside the Aviva Stadium will be an experience you never forget.
2. All-Ireland SFC Final
Folks from outside of Ireland may not know too much about Gaelic football, the sport that is indigenous to the country and still enjoyed to this day.
It’s a sort of cross between football and rugby, in layman’s terms, and has the ability to get people up out of their seat such is the thrilling nature of the action.
More than 80,000 people will cram into Croke Park – the third largest stadium in Europe – for the All-Ireland SFC final between Dublin and Kerry on September 1.
These two teams are amongst the most decorated in Gaelic football, and so the final is sure to be an unmissable occasion.
The SFC final is always one of the most popular betting events in Ireland as well, and the bookies have spoken: in their All Ireland football odds, they believe that Dublin are the red-hot favourites to claim a 29th title.
Here’s another hot tip: the All-Ireland SFC final is entertainment guaranteed.
3. Galway Summer Festival
Ireland is world-renowned for the quality of the thoroughbred racehorses it routinely produces.
A celebration of these takes place each summer at Galway, with a festival that dates all the way back to 1869.
There’s seven days of racing, with the best horses, jockeys and trainers in racing battling it out for their share of the €2 million prize fund.
More than 140,000 attend each year, so you’ll be in good company at Galway as you have a flutter and watch the drama unfold from the grandstand.
4. European Championship Qualifiers
With the cycle of international football as it is, Ireland are routinely involved in World Cup and European Championship qualifiers.
At the moment, preparations for Euro 2020 are well underway, and Ireland have gotten their qualification campaign off to an excellent start with wins over Georgia and Gibraltar.
But there are tougher tests to come, and you can catch Mick McCarthy’s men as they take on Switzerland (September 5) and Denmark (November 18) at the Aviva Stadium.
And why would you want to miss out? The Irish love their football, and 50,000 people will be on hand to cheer on the ‘Boys in Green’.
Irish Open Golf
What scenes there were when Shane Lowry won the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in the summer.
The hope is that will precipitate renewed vigour in the sport of golf, and patrons in Ireland get to see some of the best players in the world each summer when the Irish Open is welcomed to the European Tour.
Previous host courses have included Lahinch in County Clare, Ballyliffin in Donegal and the K Club in County Kildare.
One thing is for sure: there’s a wealth of options available to sports fans in Ireland who want to watch the best sporting action imaginable.
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