Win the race to the Irish sport scene

We’re sports-mad on the island of Ireland and like to try our hand at everything! Whether it’s cheering on the sidelines at a hurling match, practicing our golf swing or paddling in the sea, sport has been a huge part of Ireland’s culture for a long time. 

For now, we’ll focus on three of the big ones: Gaelic games, golf and water sports. 

Gaelic Games

Gaelic games are a set of sports that are indigenous to Ireland. They include Gaelic football, rounders and handball, as well as camogie and hurling — which both have UNESCO Cultural Heritage Status. The Gaelic Athletic Association has over 500,000 members worldwide, and this level of support is evident in the energy at the games. 

You can watch county-level games in stadiums across the country, including Croke Park (Ireland’s largest sporting arena) in Dublin city. Even when there are no matches on, Croke Park is still a top attraction — visit the GAA Museum and Stadium Tour, or climb 17 stories high to the Skyline Tour, which offers panoramic city views. 

Catch a game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in County Cork and the TUS Gaelic Grounds in County Limerick, or experience the excitement of match day as if you were a player when you tour The Athletic Grounds in County Armagh. 

Home of the Champions

Ireland’s uniquely green landscape is blanketed with golf courses that attract some of the best players in the world! In County Down, you can play on the course that was voted the world’s No. 1 outside the US by Golf Digest: Royal County Down at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. 

Similarly, you just can’t miss out on the opportunity to putt where golfing legends such as Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson have played — the 18-hole Royal Portrush in County Antrim. 

Designed by professional Irish golfer Christy O’Connor Jnr, Glasson Lakehouse and Golf Club on the edge of the calming waters of Lough Ree in County Westmeath is a hidden gem in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. With the chic hotel in the center of the course, and Glasson village so close by, this is the perfect location for a golfing retreat. 

Surf’s up

Last but not least, water sports. With a stunningly beautiful coastline, tranquil canals, scenic rivers and glassy inland loughs, it’s no wonder we love to be out on the water. 

Surfers from around the world catch waves in Bundoran, County Donegal. Check out Bundoran Surf Co and Murfs Surf School while you’re here and you’ll be surfing like the professionals in no time. Alternatively, head to the proclaimed surf capital of Northern Ireland! Portrush in County Antrim offers big waves, stunning scenery and surf lessons.  

Windsurf on the more sheltered waters of Strangford Lough in County Down or have a go at stand-up paddleboarding right through the heart of the Walled City in County Londonderry. Finally, don’t miss a spot of sea kayaking around Achill Island, County Mayo — filming location for The Banshees of Inisherin —where you can paddle by sea cliffs, secret beaches and caves.

Take your clubs onto the green at the Royal County Down golf course at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, County Down.
Take your clubs onto the green at the Royal County Down golf course at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, County Down. © Tourism Ireland

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