The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (2023)

A traveller and a sports fan? Ireland is the place for you. You can watch worldwide talent and local sports all across the country.

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (1)

Sport is woven into the fabric of Irish culture and Irish life. Its influence is visibly evident in any Irish village, town, or city. Over half of the population of Ireland participates in Irish sports at least once per week.

As a sporting nation, the Emerald Isle caters for global sports and international events, such as tennis and swimming. Meanwhile, many also enjoy the indigenous sports of Gaelic football, hurling, and camogie.

Competing at county level and professional teams at international events, sport has long been a favoured pastime in Ireland.

Others even follow the faraway games of American football, Australian rules football, and basketball. Amongst this rainbow of choice for sports attendances, here are the five most popular sports in Ireland.

5. Golf – for the summer swing

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (2)

Rory McIlroy. Graeme McDowell. Padraig Harrington. You’ve heard of all those names, right? They are some of Ireland’s premier golfers and some of the very best in the world, proving the Irish success at the sport.

And withtalent like that, it is no surprise that golf is well-followed across theEmerald Isle. Ireland has some of the world’s finest golf courses, with theRoyal County Down course ranked amongst the top 100 courses outside the US.

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Ireland also played host to the 148th Open at the Royal Portrush Golf Club in County Antrim. It was won by Irishman Shane Lowry, one of the country’s most memorable events of 2019.

Golf Ireland is the national governing body for the sport in Ireland. The best time to play golf in Ireland is between May and September as weather conditions will be more suitable for the game.

With over 300 golf courses, including the famous K Club in County Kildare and Strandhill Golf Course in County Sligo, across the country to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

4. Athletics – for the fitness freaks

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (3)

One of the most popular sports in Ireland is athletics, whose national body in Ireland is the Athletics Association of Ireland (AAI).

Athleticsincludes track and field athletes, road running, race walking, cross-countryrunning, mountain running,and ultra-distance running.

Athletics is popular from schools right up to elite athletes. There are many popular and well-attended marathons across the country, such as in Belfast or Dublin, the Connemarathon in Galway, and the Wild Atlantic Ultra in Mayo.

This enthusiasm for athletics has culminated in much Irish success at the Olympics, with athletes such as Robert Heffernan, taking home medals in their events at recent Games.

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Irish athletes often compete against athletes from other European countries and further afield at global sporting events.

3. Rugby – the best of Ireland on offer

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (4)

The Irish team has emerged as one of the best in world rugby over the last number of years, with the national team defeating the All Blacks on two occasions, two Six Nations’ titles in 2014 and 2015, and a famous Grand Slam in 2018.

The continued success of the national team has cultivated a love for the game in Ireland. It has garnered more interest in the public eye, with the Aviva Stadium in full voice when the Irish team takes to the field.

There are approximately 95,000 rugby players in Ireland, participating for 56 clubs in Ulster, 71 in Leinster, 59 in Munster, and 23 in Connacht, with the provincial team being the elite and professional team.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) is the national body for the sport in Ireland. The national team competes in various international events, such as the Six Nations.

Due to its contact nature, rugby is often considered among the most dangerous sports in the world. However that does not hinder its continued success in Ireland.

Ireland has also produced some of the best rugby players of all time in the likes of former stars Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell, or with the current crop that includes Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton.

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2. Soccer – the global game

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (5)

Soccer, or football as it is known abroad, is the most popular sport in the world with over three billion followers. It is absolutely no surprise that it ranks as one of the most popular sports in Ireland.

The islandof Ireland operates with two domestic leagues; one being the Irish League,which is played by teams in the north of the country, and the League of Ireland, which isprofessional and played by teams in the south, with the inclusion of Derry City.

Ireland’s national governing body of soccer is the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and the men’s soccer team rank 34th in the world, with the female team slightly higher at 32. In Northern Ireland, the national governing body is the Irish Football Association (IFA).

Soccer is accessible at a grassroots level and is regarded by 19% of Irish people as their favourite sport. It is also easy to find the sports bettingkubet69site where many people bet on this type of sports.

If there were odds on which is the most popular sport in Ireland, you might have guessed that the different betting sites in Ireland would have soccer down as the odds on favourite to the most popular sport, however, it ranks at number two.

1. Gaelic Games (GAA) – top pick for island of Ireland sports

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (6)

Following the release of the Teneo Sport and Sponsorship Index (TSSI) in 2018, Gaelic Games surpassed soccer as the most popular sport across Ireland for the first time in nine years.

The Gaelic Games are Ireland’s very own indigenous sports. They include handball and camogie, and two of the most popular sports, Gaelic football and hurling. All four are part of the national body, known as the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).

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Hurlingdates back thousands of years and is living proof of the sporting heart thatbeats through Irish culture. Gaelicfootball was first played 135 years ago. With over 2,200 GAA clubs across thecountry, the sport truly does have a special place in Irish communities.

Both hurling and football play 15 a-side, the aim being to score the most points; a goal counts for three and a shot over the bar counts for one. The pinnacle of the sport is the All-Ireland Senior Football Final, hosted in Croke Park, County Dublin, every summer.

There you have it, our top five Irish sports that can be found all across Ireland.

FAQs about Irish sports

What is Ireland’s main sport?

Gaelic football, which is sometimes described as a cross between football and rugby, is Ireland’s main sport. The All-Ireland Senior Football Championship is one of the biggest sporting events in the Irish sporting calendar.

What is the oldest sport in Ireland?

Hurling is not only known as the oldest sport in Ireland. It is also recognised as the oldest and fastest field game in the world.

What are the four Gaelic sports?

The four games that come under the Gaelic Athletic Association are Hurling, Gaelic Football, Handball, and Rounders. The various GAA finals is the biggest multi-sport event held in Ireland.

The 5 most popular SPORTS in Ireland, RANKED (7)

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What's the most popular sport in Ireland? ›

Gaelic football was first played in Ireland in 1802 and has grown to be the most popular sport in Ireland. If you're taking a vacation to Ireland, you should put seeing a game of Gaelic football on your to-do list!

Which sport is most popular answer? ›

Football is the most followed sport in the world. The estimated global following for football is 4 billion.

What is the most popular sport in the world 2022? ›


The sport has roughly 3.5 billion fans worldwide and 250 million players across 200 countries around the world. The next most popular sports in the world are cricket (2.5 billion fans), basketball (2.2 billion fans), and field hockey (2 billion).

What is Ireland popular for? ›

Ireland is famous for its scenic coastlines, towns, and villages along the shoreline. Most of these coastline towns are located in the west of Ireland, mainly in the province of Munster. That's where we live in Limerick! The most famous landmarks in Ireland are the Cliffs of Moher.

What is Ireland's oldest sport? ›

Hurling is one of the oldest field games in the world and is popular for at least 3000 years in Ireland with the first literary reference dating back to 1272 BC.

What is the Irish sport called? ›

Hurling (Irish: iománaíocht, iomáint) is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic Irish origin, played by men. One of Ireland's native Gaelic games, it shares a number of features with Gaelic football, such as the field and goals, the number of players and much terminology.

Is rugby popular in Ireland? ›

Rugby union in Ireland is a very popular team sport. Rugby union is organised on an all-Ireland basis with one national team, governing body and league for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Is rugby a big sport in Ireland? ›

Rugby is one of the most popular team sports played in Ireland. Both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have their own team, league and governing body for the game. After England and Scotland, Ireland was the third country to organize the game of rugby.

What is the number 1 hardest sport? ›

Degree of Difficulty: Sport Rankings
Ice Hockey7.252
33 more rows

What is the least popular sport? ›

Unicycle Hockey, Chess Boxing, Indoor Kabaddi least popular sports among the fans around the world.

What is the hardest sport in 2022? ›

According to Sports Virsa, the top 10 hardest sports in the world to play in 2022 are as follows: Boxing (hardest), American football, mixed martial arts, ice hockey, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, wrestling, rugby, and water polo.

What is the number 1 most popular sport in the world? ›

Football – 3.5 Billion Followers

Football is supreme. Over half of the world's population tunes in once in every 4 years to watch the World Cup. Over 250 million individuals reportedly play soccer regularly. As a result, it is the most popular and widely followed sport in the world.

Which country is best in sports? ›

Brazil, the host of those Olympic Games, is the second most athletically talented country, having won the most FIFA World Cup Championships to date.
The 10 Most Athletic Countries in the World.
Athletic RankCountry NameBest Countries Overall Rank
3South Africa31
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24 Feb 2016

What is Ireland's nickname? ›

The Emerald Isle:

The Emerald Isle is a tribute to the green fields of Ireland and their forty shades of green, made famous by Johnny Cash. And the Ould Sod or Auld Sod is a reference to Ireland as a homeland, a country of origin.

What called Ireland? ›

The Constitution of Ireland of 1937, provides that Ireland (or Éire in Irish) is the official name of the State and following the enactment of the Republic of Ireland Act of 1948, in 1949, Ireland became a Republic.

Why are Irish people lucky? ›

“During the gold and silver rush years in the second half of the 19th century, a number of the most famous and successful miners were of Irish and Irish American birth…. Over time this association of the Irish with mining fortunes led to the expression 'luck of the Irish.

What sport did Ireland invent? ›

Hurling. Hurling (in Irish Iomànàìocht) is a very ancient sport with its roots in pre-Christian times invented by the celtic warriors. It has been played for over 3,000 years and it is one of the fastest field games in the world.

What is a unique Irish sport? ›

A uniquely Irish game, Hurling is one of the world's oldest field sports and has been played in some form in Ireland for more than 800 years. It is often compared to hockey but other than the fact that both games involve a stick and a ball there is no similarity. Some people have called it a mixture of hockey and war!

What is Ireland's national game? ›

Hurling is the national sport of Ireland, and by some estimates it is over 3,000 years old. It is considered the fastest and most skillful field game in the world. It incorporate elements of lacrosse, baseball, ice hockey, field hockey, soccer, rugby, football, and many other sports, although it predates them all.

Is Ireland a rich or poor country? ›

RankCountryGDP-PPP ($)
141 more rows
1 Aug 2022

What are 5 interesting facts about Ireland? ›

5 Bonus fun facts about Ireland
  • Ireland is the most successful country in the Eurovision Song Contest. ...
  • Halloween was invented in Ireland. ...
  • Ireland has the largest number of red-haired people of any country in the world. ...
  • Ireland is the only country in the world to have a musical instrument as its national symbol.
21 Jun 2022

Are Ireland No 1 in rugby? ›

It's official, Ireland are the No. 1 team in world rugby.

What rank is Ireland rugby? ›

Pos PositionTeam
7 more rows

What is the fastest growing sport in Ireland? ›

The fastest growing sport in Ireland is Gaelic football, even though it is already at the top of the table. This growth is even bigger for women, believe it or not! There are more than 1,000 clubs in Ireland, and more and more are being created.

Is rugby bigger than football? ›

American football fields are shorter than rugby pitches, having a total length of 109.73m compared to rugby's 120m. Rugby pitches are much wider too at 70m compared to 48.77m in American football.

What is the number 5 sport in the world? ›

5 (five) is a number, numeral and digit. It is the natural number, and cardinal number, following 4 and preceding 6, and is a prime number. It has attained significance throughout history in part because typical humans have five digits on each hand.

What sports use 5 players? ›

Official Numbers of Players on a Team
Field Hockey11
Football (American)11
Football (Australian)18
11 more rows

What are the 3 types of sports? ›

The different types of sports categories are: Individual Sports. Partner Sports. Team Sports.

What is the hardest girl sport? ›

1 Gymnastics Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring strength, flexibility, balance and control. To be honest, gymnastics is the hardest sport.

Which sport is the easiest? ›

Here's a list of easy sports that can be picked up easily without material time or money investment:
  • Badminton. Hands down, one of the easiest and most rewarding sport to learn is Badminton. ...
  • Swimming. Swimming is a sport that can be learned at any age. ...
  • Cycling. ...
  • Table Tennis. ...
  • Volleyball.

What is the cheapest sport ever? ›

Walking has to be the most affordable sport, but jogging, basketball, skating, volleyball and swimming are also fairly inexpensive. Of course, you have to consider that fees associated with sports vary according to region. Plus, renting or buying equipment second hand can make a big difference in the cost of a sport.

Why are sports so popular? ›

People like sports because they need an escape from real-world troubles. People like sports because it provides a sense of belonging, a connection to a wider world. In other words: There is no single answer to why people watch sports, because the answer doesn't lie in the game, it lies inside the individual.

Is dance a sport? ›

Dancers are some of the most athletic and skilled people in the world. They are also very competitive. The International Olympics Committee recognizes dance as a sport. Dance is an activity that requires hours of practice every day for several years to become a pro dancer.

What is the most skillful sport? ›

Top Ranked Skill Sports
1Tenpin Bowling87.4
2Swimming (200m Free)86.9
4Water Polo85.8
6 more rows

What is the most stressful sport? ›

How the ranking was arrived at
RankSportCalories burnt ranking points
1Ironman Triathlon10
2Road cycling9
4Cross-country skiing7
4 more rows
1 Jan 2017

What sport is the hardest to win? ›

The Stanley Cup is without a doubt the hardest championship trophy to win in all of professional sports. Harder than winning the Superbowl, harder the winning the World Series, and harder than winning the NBA Title. There are 16 teams in playoff contention, only other sport that can claim the same would be the NBA.

What is the 7th most popular sport in the world? ›

Table tennis. The seventh sport on this list of the most popular sports worldwide is table tennis. Table tennis, or ping pong, is majorly an individual sport, but it can be played as a team of 2.

What is the 3rd most popular sport in the world? ›

3. Hockey. Again, hockey is a game played in multiple dimensions, including bandy, field hockey, ice hockey, and rink hockey. Although many may disagree, hockey is the third most popular sport in the world.

What is the second most popular sport? ›

Cricket is an immensely complex game, but it is also the world's second-most popular sport.

Which is the No 1 country? ›

The overall ranking of Best Countries measure global performance on a variety of metrics. Switzerland is the best country in the world for 2022.

How many sports are in the world? ›

According to the World Sports Encyclopaedia (2003), there are 8,000 indigenous sports and sporting games.

What sport is USA best at? ›

American football

› sports-activities › article › top... ›

1. Soccer/football · 2. Badminton · 3. Field Hockey · 4. Volleyball · 5. Basketball · 6. Tennis · 7. Cricket · ...
10. Golf · 9. Baseball · 8. Table Tennis · 7. Cricket · 6. Tennis · 5. Basketball · 4. Volleyball · 3. Field Ho...
What is the most popular sport in the world? An instrument of socio-economic change, sports has done more than entertain us. It has helped build one of the most...

What is the national game of Ireland? ›

Hurling, one of the two national sporting games of Ireland, is seen as one of the fastest field sports on earth and only played with a facemask and helmet as protection, making injury an unavoidable feature of the game without further padding.

What is the fastest growing sport in Ireland? ›

The fastest growing sport in Ireland is Gaelic football, even though it is already at the top of the table. This growth is even bigger for women, believe it or not! There are more than 1,000 clubs in Ireland, and more and more are being created.

What is the traditional sport of Ireland? ›

The Irish are avid sports fans, especially of their native games of Gaelic football—a cross between football (soccer) and rugby—and hurling, which resembles a rough-and-tumble version of field hockey.

What is Ireland's best Olympic sport? ›

Boxing however is by far Ireland's most successful sport at the games, accounting for more than 50% of the medals won.

Is Ireland a cricket? ›

Cricket in Ireland is governed by Cricket Ireland, which maintains the Ireland men's and women's cricket teams. Like several other sports in Ireland, cricket is organised on an all-Ireland basis. Following the team's success in the 2007 Cricket World Cup, the sport's popularity increased in Ireland.

Is hurling violent? ›

Hurling is a thrilling and dangerous sport, and in Ireland the players are universally admired for their nerves.

Was Ireland ever the Olympics? ›

2018. The Special Olympics Ireland Summer Games took place in Dublin. 1,600 athletes from all over Ireland took part in these Games. This was the first time in 16 years that the Ireland Games returned to Dublin.

Is rugby big in Ireland? ›

Rugby union in Ireland is a very popular team sport. Rugby union is organised on an all-Ireland basis with one national team, governing body and league for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

What is the number 1 growing sport? ›

America's fastest-growing sport is a cross of tennis, pingpong and badminton. Freida Yueh (right) says of the increasingly popular sport of pickleball: "It's addictive so we just started playing and now with our other friends and relatives—actually everybody we know now plays pickleball."

What is the fastest-growing sport in 2022? ›

It's now the fastest-growing sport in the United States, with almost 5 million “picklers” and counting—a population that has nearly doubled since 2014. It's easy to dismiss pickleball as a silly fad; it is, after all, called pickleball.

What are the two most popular Irish sports? ›

The Gaelic Games are Ireland's very own indigenous sports. They include handball and camogie, and two of the most popular sports, Gaelic football and hurling.

What is Irish football called? ›

Gaelic Football is a distinctly Irish field invasion game played with a round football which can be caught, kicked and hand passed. The ball used in Gaelic Football is round, slightly smaller than a soccer ball.

What is the Irish sport with a stick? ›

The first written reference to hurling dates back to 1272 BC. It is a stick and ball game, played by teams of 15 on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end. The stick that we use is called a 'hurley', or a camán in the Irish language, while the ball is called a sliotar.

How many times has Ireland won Olympics? ›

Ireland has won 11 gold medals in the Olympics - in total 9 Irish athletes have won a gold medal. Ireland has won 10 silver medals in the Olympics - in total 12 Irish athletes have won a silver medal. Ireland has won 14 bronze medals in the Olympics - in total 16 Irish athletes have won a bronze medal.

What does Sport Ireland do? ›

Sport Ireland is the authority tasked with the development of sport in Ireland. This includes participation in sport, high performance sport, anti-doping, coaching and the development of the Sport Ireland Campus.

How long is winter in Ireland? ›

Winter in Ireland takes place between December, January and February (with the Gaelic Calendar marking the start in November, and the end on 1 Feb.). Winter months are the darkest and shortest days of the year.


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