NOV 21, 2013

Five Irish sports that you may or may not know

Ireland has a rich history of sporting successes on a global scale. From Six Nations rugby to The Open, the most prestigious tournament in world golf, Ireland has played host to sporting events, produced players of world-beating pedigree, and successfully promoted events to a global audience.

It’s true to say that the Irish certainly are keen on sports. This appreciation for competition and sports is evident in Irish sporting success across the world, and the legacy is cemented by the sheer number of spectators that flock to events to support these Irish sports men and women.

There are a number of sports, considered to be outside the mainstream, that are enjoyed all across Ireland each and every day. Here is a list of six Irish sports that you may, or may not have heard of.


Hurling is regarded as the fastest game on earth. Two teams are equipped with sticks, known as hurleys, and chase down a ball across a field the size of a football field. As in field hockey, the ball is advanced across the ground or similar to baseball the ball can be smacked mid air, across the length of the pitch. Speed, agility and marksmanship are considered to be some of the core traits a player needs to posses to excel. Hurling is enjoyed across Ireland by highly skilled players, indeed it’s been remarked that the speed and agility of junior players can be breathtaking.

Gaelic Football

Gaelic football has been compared to soccer – right until the moment a player picks the ball up and runs the length of the field carrying the ball. Gaelic football has a rich history. Some historians believe that the games of soccer and rugby evolved from Gaelic football. The sport itself is more popular than hurling. On occasion international games are held – in 2006 an Australian team toured Ireland. 


Camogie is an Irish ball sport game, traditionally played by women. The game draws stark comparisons with hurling, and is played by one hundred thousand women across Ireland, and indeed throughout the world. Matches are organised by the Dublin-based Camogie Association or An Cumann Camogaiochta.

Though not drawing crowds as large as hurling the game is played at a pace almost as fast as hurling, though is a mite less blood curling. Nevertheless, the sport is enjoyed by spectators for its fast-paced action.


Irish showjumping has endured a few setbacks in recent times, primarily due to unavoidable blunders and scandals. Despite this fact Irish riders and horses are ranked amongst some of the most elite in Europe. Individual animals and riders from the Irish Army’s Equestrian School are renowned by those involved in the sport the world over.

The event that you cannot afford to miss is the Dublin Horse Show. Held at the RDS Showground in the summer months the event draws riders and spectators from around the world to Ireland.

Greyhound Racing

It has been said that greyhound racing is the poor man’s horse racing. Today, hundreds of thousands of greyhounds are bred exclusively for racing. Today, greyhound racing is considered to be one of the more well-known Irish sports. Dominated by reputable trainers and experienced breeders, greyhound racing has developed a large following across Ireland.

Created on 21st November 2013
Back to list