The Three Most Popular Sports in Ireland

Sport in Ireland is extremely popular, and it plays a vital role in Irish society. A wide range of sports is played in Ireland including Gaelic games (including Gaelic football, hurling and camogie), such as horse racing, rugby union and soccer. However, only a few sports have wide popularity. This article highlights and explains the three most popular sports in Ireland.

1. Gaelic Football

Gaelic football, commonly referred to like football or Gaelic, is a popular team sport in Ireland. It is played between two teams of 15 players on a rectangular grass pitch.

The game itself is very similar to soccer and rugby. The aim is to score by kicking or punching the ball into the other team’s goals or between two upright posts above the goals and over a crossbar 2.5 metres above the ground.

Every county in the island of Ireland competes in this sport, and every year there is The All-Ireland Championship where a team from each county competes to win the prestigious Sam Maguire Cup on All-Ireland Final Day at Croke Park in Dublin. Over 80,000 people go to Dublin to attend this game each year which is unbelievable considering this is an amateur sport.

In addition, there is a huge surge of punts on different betting sites in Ireland during this game as it is one of the most watched sports.

Without a doubt, Gaelic football has always been one of the most popular sports in Ireland.
According to The Irish Times, Gaelic football is the most attended sport in the country with over 30% of sports attendances. This makes Gaelic football the most popular sport in Ireland.

2. Hurling

Hurling is considered to be the fastest game on earth. The game is played by two teams equipped with sticks (hurleys), chasing a small ball across the same pitch as a Gaelic football game.

The game has prehistoric origins in Ireland and has been played for 4,000 years. The aim in Hurling is for the players to use a wooden stick (called a hurley) to hit a small ball (a sliotar) between the opponents’ goalposts. Over the crossbar will get a team one point and or under the crossbar will get the team three points.

The sliotar is allowed to be caught and carried. However, it is not allowed to be carried for more than four steps.

Hurling is native to Ireland is hugely popular here. Due to the nature of the game, it is considered a fairly dangerous sport. As a result, you have to be extremely brave, skilled and fit to play this great sport.

3. Soccer

Soccer (or football) is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world’s most popular sport. However, in Ireland, it is the third most popular sport after Gaelic football and hurling.

That being said, soccer is still massively popular in Ireland. Whether it is in participation or spectating, Irish people love the beautiful game. According to a recent Irish Sport Monitor report, 4.8% of adults over 15 take part in Soccer, and Gaelic Football is second with 2%.