Ireland might not be the biggest country in the world. However, when it comes to sport, the guys and girls in green always have what it takes to tussle with global giants. As well as skill, grit and determination, one of the reasons Irish athletes often excel on an international stage is support.
Dublin’s own Conor McGregor said it best in the UFC octagon when he reminded the world that “when one of us goes to war, we all go to war”.
With a pack mentality like no other, it’s hardly surprising that Ireland’s sporting venues are some of the most iconic in the world.
Indeed, any travelling sportsman or woman that’s stepped out in front of a home crowd in Ireland will tell you it’s an experience like no other.
Without diving too far into the specifics of why, it’s fair to say the sport is ingrained in Irish life. Alongside staples such as football and rugby, horse racing has long been a tradition.
From Racing Roots to Modern Icons
As far back as 60AD, horses were racing in Ireland. Since that time, it’s become a part of our culture.
Indeed, as well as the best runners and riders, betting on horses is big business. From on-course bookmakers, the industry is now dominated by online sports betting sites like Unibet Ireland.
As well as odds on the top races from Curragh, Punchestown and beyond, Unibet caters to the local love of racing with cashback promos.
Thanks this deep-rooted love of horses and modern innovations, Ireland’s racing industry is now worth €1.8 billion.
What’s more, there are 50 thoroughbred horses per 10,000 people in Ireland! Put simply, sport is part of Irish life and that’s why our national venues are iconic. With that being the case, here are some of the best sporting landmarks in Ireland that you simply have to visit.
1. Curragh Racecourse, County Kildare
With horse racing acting as a catalyst for almost all sport in Ireland, Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare is a must-see track. Hosting races since 1727, Curragh is now home to Ireland’s top meets, including the Irish 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas, the Irish Derby and the Irish Oaks.
2. Croke Park, Dublin
For rugby, there’s no better stadium in Ireland than Croke Park. As well as being the HQ of the Gaelic Athletic Association since 1891, Croker is Europe’s third-largest stadium with a capacity of 82,300. However, in typically Irish fashion, the attendance record is an even more impressive 90,556 (Offaly vs. Down, 1961).
3. Dalymount Park, Dublin
For a trip back to the old school and the grassroots of Irish football, a trip to Dalymount Park is a must. Built in 1901, this ground is home to Bohemians and has become an institution thanks to its community vibe.
As well as graffitied walls, the club brews its own beer and local derbies against Shamrock Rovers turn into a veritable pyro party.
Although there are plenty more sporting venues to visit in Ireland, we think our hot three will give you a true taste of Irish sporting history. Regardless of whether you’re a die-hard fan or not, no trip to Ireland would be complete without getting in touch with its sporting roots.