Sports in Ireland

5 Sports in Ireland to Enjoy During Fall and Winter

Glenn Beg

Glenn Beg

Glenn Beg is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Ireland).
Glenn Beg

Ireland has a long and varied sporting tradition with widespread success at international level, and also with its own unique games and sports.  So if you are visiting Ireland over the Autumn or early Winter, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to take in an event.  Personally, I find a great way to understand a country’s culture on a deeper level is to see it at play.

Here are the 5 things to go and see whilst in Ireland over the 2017’s Fall and Winter period.

1. Hurling and Gaelic Football

The 2 main sports in Ireland – hurling and Gaelic football, have come to the end of the major part of the season.  However that doesn’t mean there won’t be games to go and see when you visit and if anything, these games can be a more passionate and interesting experience for a visitor.  Every parish and every town in Ireland has at least one club and this time of the year, the focus is on local county championships.

There is nothing quite like watching 2 amateur teams from neighbouring villages doing battle for the honour and glory of their community in the same way that their fathers and grandfathers did.  The grounds won’t be fancy, often earth banks or small stands, but it’s a unique Irish experience.  Check with local newspapers or radio stations to see what games are on near where you are visiting.

Pro tip: If you can’t make it to a game, then stop by the Croke Park Museum in Dublin.  It will give you a chance to learn more about the sport, whilst it’s Skyline tour across the roof of the stadium will give you some of the best panoramic views over Dublin!

Dublin: The Top 20 Attractions

Gaelic football player2. Local Rugby

If you are a rugby fan, or even curious about the game then Ireland is the place to be this Winter.  Our four professional teams based in Limerick, Galway, Belfast and Dublin, do battle in the top European competitions over the next few month.  The big game is on October 7th when Leinster will do battle with their arch rivals Munster in front of 40,000 fans at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Pro tip: With a little forward planning, tickets can be easily obtained – try the Munster, Connacht, Ulster and Leinster rugby websites for more information.

3. International Rugby Games

There are also a series of international rugby games this Winter, with Ireland playing Fiji, Argentina and South Africa, at the Aviva Stadium.  Ireland has been one of the most consistent and successful international teams in Europe in recent years.  Tickets are available from the IRFU website.

For something slightly more unusual, there is another international team playing in Ireland this Winter.  Tonga will play an invitation side, the Barbarians, in Thomand Park in Limerick on November 10th.  Thomand Park is one of European rugby’s most famed stadiums, with a fine museum Munster Rugby inside it as well.

Ice Hockey Ireland4. Ice Hockey

The thought of watching ice hockey in Ireland may seem a bit weird, but Ireland does have a fully professional team, the Belfast Giants, who play in the British Super League.  They have a wonderful arena and with games on most weekends, it can be a good way to enjoy a sporting event, especially if the weather has turned inclement.

5. Horse Racing

Irish people love horse racing, and it’s often the number one story on the sports news.  There are plenty of meetings at the length and breadth of the country over the Winter.  Don’t expect anything posh at many of these.  This is often rural Irish sport at its very best.  In particular, a day at the races over the Christmas period at Leopardstown or Limerick, is as much a part of Christmas rituals for many Irish people, as Santa Clause and pudding.

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