Playing and watching sporting events in Ireland has always held a unique place in our social makeup.
From the earliest days of our history when we pucked crude animal skins around a playing field using sticks to the current International success of our national sporting teams, the watching of a sport has thrilled and excited us.
We simply love sport, the playing, watching and most especially the talking about it.
Now, let’s have a look the top Irish sporting events that you simply can’t miss this year…
1 – A Six Nations Rugby M
Dublin is an ideal city to host a Guinness Six Nations rugby match, the city comes alive.
Unlike the bigger cities of London and Paris, if you’re in Dublin over an international rugby weekend, you will definitely feel the buzz.
Visiting spectators are treated to that extra special welcome that only a relatively small city can offer.
As you read this the championship has already started — and only heaven knows which way it will go — but the next match to be hosted at the Aviva Stadium Dublin will be held on Sunday the 10th of March when Ireland take on France.
Tickets are not always too difficult to come by as someone always knows someone and honestly these international are always worth the effort to get to.
2 – The Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship
When the Munster Senior Hurling Final is played in the spiritual home of the GAA, Semple Stadium in Thurles County Tipperary, no matter which two of the five qualifying teams are doing battle, a fantastic day’s entertainment is guaranteed.
The final itself is usually held on the first Sunday of July, although tickets can be hard to get, it is not impossible and the reward of a great day is always well worth the effort.
3 – The Galway Races
Every year Galway racecourse hosts its Summer Festival of horse racing. Over the week, this year starting on Monday the 29th of July the whole city simply comes alive with good fun and excitement.
With prize funds of over €2 million these races attract some of the finest thoroughbreds not only in Ireland but also from all corners of the world.
Side events such as Ladies Day and the family event Super Saturday showcase the best of Irish fashion fun and of course craic.
Tickets are easy to acquire, but remember that with an estimated attendance of 150,000, accommodation in Galway City can be that bit difficult to find, so book early.
4 – The Dublin Horse Show
The five-day event known as the Dublin Horse Show dates back to 1864 and is plain and simply one of the world’s most famous showcases of magnificent horses and riders and not to be missed.
This year the show runs from the 7th to the 11th of August and promises to be bigger and better than ever.
There is a multitude of food and drink restaurants within the RDS — very easy to get to in Ballsbridge — and all sorts of fringe activities to entertain you including a € 10,000 prize fund for the Best Dressed Lady competition which this year will be held on the 9th of August.
With ticket prices, which can be booked online starting at around €22 it really is great value entertainment and a fantastic day out to see not only the show jumping but indulge yourself in an elegant tradition dating back more than a centenary and a half.
5 – Open Championship, Royal Portrush
If you fancy the game of golf, well then there is a treat in store for you during the week of the 14th to the 21st of July in Portrush County Antrim, when the oldest international golfing championship returns to Dunluce Golf Links after an absence of sixty-eight-years.
The best players in the world will compete and the main events along with the inevitable side attractions promise to provide a great weeks sporting occasion.
6 – Rugby World Cup Warm-up Matches
This year sees the Rugby World Cup played in Japan. Now only a very few lucky spectators will find the time and money to attend, however, some of the warm-up matched will be played here in Ireland prior to the competition’s start date of the 20th of September.
Ireland will host two matches in The Aviva Stadium which will be well worth attending during August and September.
The first is Ireland versus Italy due to be held on Saturday the 10th of August and then another Ireland versus Wales on the 7th of September.
With Ireland as the 2018 Grand Slam winners and hoping this year to progress for the first time beyond the quarter-final stages, everything is to play for and great games of rugby are guaranteed.
These are only a few of this year’s great Irish sporting events of this year. Of course, there are many more to look out for, from the All Ireland Hurling and Football Championships to countless soccer, boxing, hockey and all the other various disciplines.
Remember there are many local club and county matches and competitions being held each and every weekend, competitions that can delight and thrill and often equal the enjoyment of the larger events, so get out there and start shouting.