Whilst Gaelic games might be the most watched sports in the country, more Irish people play soccer (commonly referred to as football) than any other sport. The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) are the governing body and oversee domestic leagues and national teams. Football is especially popular in urban areas and in 2017/2018 the Leinster Senior League (LSL) for adults operated 21 divisions. The Dublin and District Schoolboys League (DDSL), founded in 1943, is affiliated with more than 200 clubs and operates divisions from boys and girls under 7 right up to under 18s.
Gaelic games, as the name suggests, are games unique to Ireland. The two primary men’s Gaelic games are football and hurling under the auspices of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Women play ladies’ Gaelic football under the Ladies’ Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) and camogie (almost identical to hurling) under The Camogie Association. The GAA, the largest sporting organisation in the country, was established in 1884. Croke Park on Dublin’s north side is its headquarters – it’s also the largest stadium in the country.
Gaelic Football, hurling and camogie are played by two teams of fifteen players on a field between 130 and 145-metres long. Their objective is to put the ball through the goal posts – rugby-sized uprights with a soccer net underneath. A goal over the crossbar is awarded one point, a goal in the net gets three. Football players carry the round, leather ball – but only for a distance of four consecutive steps – and are permitted to kick and hand-pass it to each other. Hurling and camogie players carry a hurley. Traditionally made from ash wood, the hurley resembles a hockey stick and is used to hit a small, leather ball (called the ‘sliothar’) around the field. Hurling is reputedly the world’s fastest field sport; the ball regularly hits speeds of over 150 km/h.
Being a grassroots organisation, there are 134 Gaelic clubs across the county of Dublin, with 2,518 in total across Ireland. Despite the popularity of these sports, none of the players are paid and many hold-down day jobs. Players are chosen from their clubs to represent their county in competition. The largest of these competitions is the yearly All Ireland Senior Football and Hurling Championships. Dublin is both the reigning All Ireland Senior Men’s & Women’s Football Champions for 2018.
If you’d like to try these unique sports for yourself, this is the place to start.
Mighty Aviva Stadium, the home of Irish rugby, rises from the red brick terrace houses of Beggar’s Bush on the banks of the River Dodder. Rugby has been played here since 1872 when Henry Dunlop and the Irish Champion Athletics Club laid out sports grounds here. The first representative match was played between Leinster and Ulster in 1876 and Ireland’s first international fixture against England in 1878 – making it the world’s oldest rugby union test venue. It is now home to the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the body that manages rugby union in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Of course, if you’re not into GAA, soccer or rugby, there are plenty of other sports played across the city and county of Dublin. The Federation of Irish Sport is the representative organisation for the National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) and Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) in Ireland and its membership consists of over 100 NGBs and LSPs from every corner of the country. Below is a list of selected sports and sporting bodies around the region. For a more complete list visit IrishSport.ie. Adventure Its plentiful supply of natural resources – coastline, rocky mountains,