4 Most-Loved Sports In Ireland For All Time

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4 Most-Loved Sports In Ireland For All Time

Sports isn’t just a mere game for the fans, but also a delightful moment in time. Like theatre, it’s an avenue to express emotions. In light of this, sports have become a global form of entertainment; it has become a connection to the wider wild world, giving you a sense of belonging.

Narrowing down to Ireland, sports is a critical part of the country’s fabric and culture. Adults, teens, and kids flock to stadiums whenever there’s an exciting game. Aside from cheering on favourite teams, engaging in sports is a great way to get in shape, watch your body weight, bond with friends, and achieve a genuine sense of accomplishment and unity. Having said that, see below four of the most-loved sports in Ireland. 


  • Horse Racing 

Horse racing has been in Irish culture and society for a long time, making it one of the most popular sports in the country. Internationally speaking, the country is among the top three best producers and trainers of thoroughbred horses. (1)

In line with this, the country has invested heavily in horse racing. As an example, it has developed 26 spectacular racecourses where major horse racing competitions take place. The racing commission schedules the races, and you can find these timetables on various social media platforms and websites. You can also view the Irish racing results on such sites to find out what position your favourite horse emerged in any given race. Some of the most elegant and famous racecourses in Ireland include:

  • Ballinrobe 
  • Curragh 
  • Wexford 
  • Navan 

Horse racing and breeding significantly contribute to the Irish economy. By 2017, it was contributing EUR€1.84 billion annually. You can expect the figures to be way higher by now. Furthermore, it employs dozens of thousands of people directly and indirectly. (1)

As a horse racing fan, you can also participate through betting and stand a chance to win huge sums of cash. To this end, you’d want to take advantage of free Punters tips provided by seasoned wagerers and horse racing analysts.


Indeed, betting has become a central part of the sport. In 2019, the on-course horse race betting turnover through bookmakers was EUR€ 60.14 million. This dipped to EUR€6.97 million in 2020 because of the pandemic, but again rose by 67.5% in 2021. (2) (3)

Thus, wagering on horse races is quite promising. For more analysis on horses, jockeys and other horse racing dynamics, this YouTube channel could help you a lot: https://www.youtube.com/c/PuntersAustralia


  • Hurling 

Hurling is another popular sport in Ireland. It’s played using a hurley (a small wooden stick) and a sliotar (a small ball). It’s very similar to football, considering that it’s played on a rectangular grass pitch with goal posts at both ends of the field. However, the sliotar’s size is almost that of a tennis ball. Also, the players use the hurley or their hands to control the ball. 

The game is a fixture of life in many parts of Ireland. In 2012, the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship made it to position two on CNN’s 10 Sporting Events you must see live – a true testament to its popularity. Up to now, it’s played at the inter-county level, which is the highest division of the competition. (4)

  • Gaelic Football

Gaelic football closely competes with horse racing with regard to popularity. It’s played with a ball similar to that used in handball, but slightly smaller. Players gain points by kicking the ball between goalposts or carrying it past the goal line. It’s a national sport and is, at times, referred to as “the game of Ireland.”

This is supported by the fact that every parish in Ireland has Gaelic football clubs. To set the record straight, Ireland has over 2,500 parishes, so it’s no surprise that the game is played by over two thirds of Ireland residents. Moreover, it attracts millions of fans, including the likes of the renowned Sir Alex Ferguson. (5) (6)

  • Soccer

Since its inception in 1882, soccer in Ireland has been rapidly gaining fans. It’s said to be the most highly played team sport in Ireland after Gaelic Football and Hurling. Some of the most popular teams include: (7)

  • The Bohemians
  • St. Patrick’s Athletic
  • Shamrock Rovers
  • Linfield
  • Derry City
  • Glentorn (7)

Aside from the local football clubs, the national team has also represented the country in three FIFA World Cups, which is dream-yet-to-come-true for many nations across the world.



Ireland residents truly love sports, as evidenced by the above revelations. So, make a point of joining the wave to connect with friends through spectating or playing. You can also consider betting, from which you can land multimillion jackpots. Whichever way you participate in sports, be assured you’ll get fully entertained.



  1. “Why horse racing in Ireland is a multi-billion-dollar industry”, Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/19/sport/horse-racing-ireland-brian-kavanagh/index.html 
  2. “Total on-course horse race betting through bookmakers in Ireland from 2012 to 2020”, Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/710004/bookmakers-on-course-horse-betting-ireland/ 
  3. “2021 Year-end figures reflect growth, confidence and resilience in Irish racing and breeding”, https://www.hri.ie/content/press-office/press-releases/2021-year-end-figures-reflect-growth,-confidence-and-resilience-in-irish-racing-and-breeding/ 
  4. “CNN’s 10 Sporting Events you must see live”, Source: https://www.topendsports.com/world/lists/must-see-events/top10-cnn.htm#
  5. “Gaelic Football”, Source: https://www.discoveringireland.com/gaelic-football/ 
  6. “Irish land divisions”, Source: https://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/Irish-land-divisions.html 
  7. “Football in Ireland: History, teams and most popular events”, Source: https://www.ireland-now.com/football.html 
More Stories Gaelic Craic Gaelic Football Horse racing Hurling Soccer