Most Popular Sports in Ireland

A golden-age for Irish sport is upon us. Our small-but-proud nation has competed exceptionally well over the last decade. Ireland’s success in sport such as soccer, golf, boxing and rugby have all had an influence in the increase in the popularity of sport in our country.

We at PledgeSports have compiled a list on what are the most popular sports in Ireland today.


Gaelic Football –  


Gaelic football has always been one of most popular sports in Ireland without a doubt.  Very similar to soccer – until a player actually picks up the ball and runs in a rugby-like manner away with it. Every county in Ireland competes to win the prestigious Sam Maguire Cup on All-Ireland Final Day at Croke Park in Dublin. Over 80,000 people attend this final annually, not bad for an amateur sport.

According to – GAA football is the most attended sport in country with over 30% of sports attendances.


Hurling –  


Regarded as “the fastest game on earth”, hurling is played by two teams equipped with sticks (hurleys), chasing a small ball across a football-sized field. Hurling is native to Ireland is hugely popular in the GAA community. You have to extremely brave, skilled and fit to play this tremendous sport.

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In an article from – “Hurling Heroes of Ireland”, Hurling can be described as a “sacred cultural jewel as it as a sport, the finals are epic!”. We guess that is what makes hurling so popular amongst people in Ireland.

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Soccer -  


Soccer in Ireland is hugely popular. Whether it is in participation or spectating, people love the game. According to Irish Sport Monitor annual report, 4.8% of adults over 15 participate in Soccer and Gaelic Football is second with 2%.

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From a spectator point of view, our recent results in the World Cup qualifiers has brought major disappointment amongst Irish soccer fans, however Irish hopes are high for the next qualifying campaign and it has sincerely not dented the popularity of the game in the country.


 Golf -  

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Golf is one the most played sports in the country amongst young and old. Due to the more and more prestigious tournaments that are being held in the country of late has helped boost the economy and the game of golf in Ireland greatly. Rory McIlroy is on Ireland’s finest golfers with 4 majors to his name. His hosting of the Irish Open has helped grow the game in the country also.

Not to mention next year, the 2019 British Open will be held in Royal Portrush. It will attract some of the biggest names in golf amongst hundreds of thousands of visitors that will aid the popularity of the game even further.


Rugby –  


With over 8% of total attendances last year, Rugby in Ireland is very popular. Almost all schools, colleges and local communities compete in the game. The continued success of the Irish Rugby team has helped grow the popularity of the game also. A study from 2009, even showed that over 70% of the Irish population felt that Ireland winning their first Grand Slam since 1948 was one of the biggest sporting achievements in the country.

Overall the popularity of Sport in Ireland is on the rise in the last decade, of course we could also mention the likes of MMA. Conor McGregor has single handedly grown the game to new heights in the country. He is a global superstar that aims to put Ireland on the fighting map. In years to come, MMA could be one of the most popular sports in Ireland!

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