Traditional Irish Sports: Watch or Play Them to Express Your Passion for Irish Culture!

When we watch or participate in traditional Irish sports, we experience the passion for hard work, social connection, and national pride that is so much a part of the culture.

You can feel it - in the pubs, in the stands, and in Irish homes around the world.

Let's have a look at a few of the more popular Irish sports. Who knows, maybe you'll be come a fan, or even better yet - a player!

Traditional Irish Sport #1: Hurling

No, it's not something you do after an all-night pub crawl ... well, ok maybe it is... but it is so much more than that!

To an Irishman or woman, hurling is a game of national pride for several reasons, including the fact that it was played by heroes of ancient Ireland.

Traditional Irish Sports - Irish Hurling

It is also widely-regarded as one of the fastest games on earth, not to mention one of the most dangerous!

Players are allowed to charge at each other with their hurleys (sticks) ready to wreak destruction - well within the rules of play.

Speed, agility and marksmanship are essential in this remarkably exciting Irish sport. Add in a “no guts, no glory” attitude and you can become the next champion.

Have a look at the sport of Hurling (YouTube video).

Traditional Irish Sport #2:  Camogie

The female version of hurling is camogie. The kit (uniform) is different, but the game is largely the same as hurling.

The sport is said to be slightly less brutal (although you might want to watch and draw your own conclusion).

But it is still fast, exciting and physical with rules are similar to men's hurling. It was introduced in 1904 with over 100,000 players in Ireland and in Irish communities abroad.

Fast plays are the norm.

Check out the sport of Camogie here (YouTube video).

Traditional Irish Sports - Gaelic FootballGaelic Football - Photocredit: Ciaran McGuiggan (Flickr)

Traditional Irish Sport #3: Gaelic Football

For many true-blooded and proud Irish folk, the only football is Gaelic football and we can definitely understand why.

At first glance, Gaelic football is similar to the more globally known football (soccer) in several ways including the players’ kit, the ball and the playing field.

But you'll see one important difference when the player actually picks up the ball, runs away with it for 4 steps, and passes it to another player.

The best thing about Gaelic football is that, like global football, it can be enjoyed almost anywhere you can find a large open area and a makeshift goal.

And - it is the most popular sport in Ireland measured by attendance.

Get a feel for Gaelic Football here (YouTube video).

Traditional Irish Sports - Irish Rugby

Traditional Irish Sport #4: Rugby

Irish rugby may have English and Scottish origins but, as with many things, it has been adapted to suit the unique people of the Emerald Isle.

One of my favorite moments in Ireland was watching the Irish national team defeat the mighty Australians on a picture perfect evening at Aviva Statium.

Irish rugby is played with the characteristic gusto, fighting spirit and strong sense of competition among teams, so much so that it is not unusual for the spectators to go into fights in defense of their favorite clubs.

Rugby is also played on the streets, in schools and in other open areas. We suggest bringing a small first aid kit just in case.

Have a look at Irish Rugby here (YouTube video).

Irish Sport #5: Boxing

The Fighting Irish. This is the most fitting name for Irish boxers who have made and continue to make their mark on the international boxing stage.

Boxing clubs are aplenty in the Emerald Isles with many Irish champions starting on their boxing career at an early age.

It has become one of the most popular Irish sports.

We can mention Katie Taylor, Ireland’s boxing sensation and London Olympics 2012 gold medalist in the sport, as a prime example.

Check out Irish Boxing here (YouTube video).

Very Interesting!  Where Can I Go for More?

I'm so glad you asked! Traditional Irish sports are an integral part of the culture of Ireland.  Playing and / or spectating at sporting events is an exhilarating way to express your Irish side!

If you enjoyed this page, please take a moment to share your feedback about it, or any other part of our site, using our contact form here.

In the meantime, thank you so much for visiting!  We hope you will continue to explore Irish culture and traditions, and to share your Irish side with the growing community of friends at Irish!



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