The 4 most popular sports in Ireland for all time
Sport is not only a game for the fans, but also a moment of pleasure. Like theatre, it is a way of expressing emotions. Against this backdrop, sport has become a global form of entertainment; It has become a connection to the wide wild world and gives you a sense of belonging.
Unique to Ireland, sport is a crucial part of the country’s fabric and culture. Adults, teenagers and children flock to the stadiums when there is an exciting game on. Besides cheering on your favorite teams, exercise is a great way to get in shape, manage your body weight, connect with friends, and achieve a real sense of accomplishment and unity. Nonetheless, below are four of the most popular sports in Ireland.
Horse racing has long been part of Irish culture and society, making it one of the country’s most popular sports. Internationally, the country is among the top three producers and trainers of thoroughbred horses. (1)
Accordingly, the country has invested heavily in horse racing. For example, it has developed 26 spectacular racetracks that host major horse races. The Race Commission schedules the races and you can find these schedules on various social media platforms and websites. You can also check Irish race results on such sites to find out where your favorite horse finished in a particular race. Some of Ireland’s most elegant and famous racecourses include:
Horse racing and horse breeding contribute significantly to the Irish economy. Until 2017, it contributed 1.84 billion euros annually. You can expect the numbers to be much higher by now. In addition, it directly and indirectly employs tens of thousands of people. (1)
As a fan of horse racing, you can also participate by betting and have a chance to win huge sums of money. For this purpose, you should take advantage of the free punters tips provided by expert players and horse racing analysts.
In fact, betting has become a central part of sports. In 2019, the turnover from on-course betting on horse racing via bookmakers was 60.14 million euros. Due to the pandemic, this fell to EUR 6.97 million in 2020, but rose again by 67.5% in 2021. (2) (3)
So betting on horse racing is quite promising. For more analysis on horses, jockeys and other horse racing dynamics, you might find this YouTube channel of great help: https://www.youtube.com/c/PuntersAustralia
Hurling is another popular sport in Ireland. It is played with a hurley (a small wooden stick) and a sliotar (a small ball). It is very similar to soccer considering that it is played on a rectangular grass field with goal posts at both ends of the field. However, the size of the sliotar is almost that of a tennis ball. Also, players use the hurley or their hands to control the ball.
Play is a regular part of life in many parts of Ireland. In 2012, the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship made it to number two in CNN’s 10 Sporting Events You Must Watch Live event – a true testament to its popularity. So far, the game has been played at the inter-county level, the top division of the competition. (4)
Gaelic football closely rivals horse racing in terms of popularity. It is played with a ball similar to handball but slightly smaller. Players score points by kicking the ball between goalposts or carrying it past the goal line. It is a national sport and is sometimes referred to as ‘the game of Ireland’.
This is aided by the fact that every parish in Ireland has Gaelic football clubs. To get straight to the point, Ireland has over 2,500 parishes, so it’s no surprise that the game is played by over two-thirds of the Irish population. In addition, it attracts millions of fans, including the famous Sir Alex Ferguson. (5) (6)
Since its inception in 1882, football has quickly grown in popularity in Ireland. It is said to be the second most played team sport in Ireland after Gaelic football and hurling. Some of the most popular teams are: (7)
- The Bohemians
- St Patrick’s Athletic
- Shamrock Rover
- Derry City
Aside from the local soccer clubs, the national team has also represented the country at three FIFA World Cups, which is a dream yet to come true for many nations around the world.
Irish residents really do love sport, as evidenced by the revelations above. So join the wave to connect with friends through watching or playing. You can also consider betting where you can land multi-million jackpots. However you participate in the sport, rest assured you will be thoroughly entertained.
“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
“Total number of bets on horse racing on course by bookmakers in Ireland from 2012 to 2020”, source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/710004/bookmakers-on-course-horse-betting-ireland/
“Year-end 2021 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/
“CNN’s 10 must-see sports events live”, Source: https://www.topendsports.com/world/lists/must-see-events/top10-cnn.htm#:~:text=%20CNN% 27s%2010%20sport%20events%20you%20must%20see,Ukraine%209%20Melbourne%20Cup%2C%20Melbourne%2C%20Australia%20More%20
“Gaelic Football”, Source: https://www.discoveringireland.com/gaelic-football/
Irish Land Divisions Source: https://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/Irish-land-divisions.html
“Football in Ireland: History, teams and most popular events”, Source: https://www.ireland-now.com/football.html