Ballynahinch Castle, where you can stay on our castle tours of Ireland Ballynahinch Castle, where you can stay on our castle tours of Ireland
Ballynahinch Castle, where you can stay on our castle tours of Ireland The sun setting over the Irish coast Irish locals fishing on the lake at Kylemore Abbey Glendalough, monastic site visited on some of our Ireland tours Traditional Irish music performed for visitors on a Tour of Ireland Sheep grazing on the Irish coastal clifftops

Sports in Ireland

Irish Sports & Outdoor Pursuits

As a nation, Ireland is passionate about sport, whether participating or spectating. According to the Irish Sports Council, no less than 47% of Irish people regularly participate in sporting activity. And any given Sunday you will see the pubs fill up as men and women of all ages settle down to enjoy an afternoon watching their local team do battle against a local rival. The BBC observe: "From the local junior team to ... Croke Park stadium, the passion and commitment on the pitch are the same all over."

Gaelic Sport

More globally recognised sports are well known and well liked in Ireland, with football, rugby, athletics and so on widely enjoyed at grassroots level. And, with national spirit being what it is, it is no surprise that Irish international teams are well supported in all sports. But Ireland is perhaps better known for its love of Gaelic Games.

Hurling, Ireland
Football, Ireland

Gaelic Football

The most well-attended sport in Ireland, Gaelic football is often described as a cross between association football and rugby, and, although perhaps less well known internationally, it actually predates both. As in rugby, the game is played with the hands and feet and each team has 15 players; like football, the ball is round.

The game is played on a rectangular field with H-shaped goals at each end. The object of the game is to drive the ball into the opposition goal (thus scoring a goal), or to kick it over the horizontal crossbar (and so scoring a point).

Find out more about Gaelic Football »

Hurling & Camogie

Hurling and Camogie are almost identical, with the former being played by men and the latter by women, though there are a few subtle variations in the rules. Both sports are played by teams of fifteen players on a rectangular pitch. Like Gaelic Football, the ball (called a Sliotar) is round and the goals are shaped like a giant 'H'. The aim is to get the ball either under the opponents' crossbar (for a goal, three points), or over it (for one point). Many of the hotels and pubs that you visit of a tour of Ireland will show Hurling and Gaelic football on their T.V's, especially during the summer months.

Find out more about hurling » Find out more about camogie »

Camogie, Ireland

Outdoor Pursuits in Ireland

The Great Outdoors

With craggy coastlines, rolling hills, picturesque Irish loughs and towering sea stacks, Ireland is the perfect destination for tourists who enjoy the great outdoors. A tour of Ireland is the perfect place to try new things, or simply the ideal time to enjoy an existing hobby, there will be no shortage of opportunities to get involved.

If you would like to participate in any outdoor pursuits and activities during your private tour of Ireland, please let us know and we can organise everything for you, taking the ages and experience levels of your group into account.

Climbing, Ireland

Climbing

Climbing is among the most popular outdoor activities in Ireland and, wherever your vacation in Ireland takes you, there will be no shortage of places to get involved in Ireland's active community of indoor and outdoor climbers. A database of Ireland's best climbing routes is available online for those wishing to research the best ascents.

Climbing sea stacks in Donegal, it is possible to reach places which have received fewer human visitors than the moon! That's a 'selfie' waiting to happen, right there.

Golf

Find out about our Ireland golf vacations...

Ireland is famed for its golf, with sweeping coastlines and wooded valleys providing a suitably dramatic backdrop for any round of golf, whether you're a beginner or a veteran. With such amazing scenery, it is hardly surprising that Ireland is home to some of the world's finest Championship courses and resorts. As you might expect, Ireland is most noted for its expansive and windswept links courses, but there is plenty of parkland golf to be had, too. A quick spot of golf can always be arranged on Bus tours of Ireland.

Although big-name courses like Royal Portrush or Lough Erne, The K Club or Royal County Down may often spring to mind when Irish golf is mentioned, it is not only the most recognisable courses that bring golfers to Ireland each year. Each and every region of Ireland has its own character, with regional golf courses providing the perfect expression of the local landscape. Throughout the country as a whole, the standard of local courses is very high.

If your ideal tour of Ireland or tour of Northern Ireland involves a strokesaver and ends at the nineteenth hole, let us know and we will arrange a private tour of Ireland's best courses. Find out about our Ireland golf vacations...

Listing some of the most popular west-coast courses North & West Coast Golf Links point to courses like Carne Golf Links, Enniscrone Golf Club and Narin & Portnoo as examples of the unmissable golf which the west of Ireland has to offer. So, if your ideal tour of Ireland or tour of Northern Ireland involves a strokesaver and ends at the nineteenth hole, the west of Ireland could well be worth a visit.

Ring of Kerry, Golf, Ireland Golf, Ireland Edenderry, Golf, Co. Offaly, Ireland
Ballynahinch, Galway, Ireland

Walking, Hiking and Mountaineering

Hill walking is immensely popular in Ireland among tourists and locals alike. Each year, almost 1 million overseas visitors to Ireland go hiking in the hills, forests and glens of the Emerald Isle.

There are plenty of National Waymarked Trails ranging in distance from 25km to over 200km, making Ireland an ideal location for those seeking to cover some ground over one day or several. For those looking for something a little bit shorter, there is just as much provision, and shorter loops walks now link up to most of the National Waymarked Trails, ensuring that nobody misses out on the best bits of Ireland's great scenery.

The website www.irishtrails.ie features a handy database of 841 recommended Irish walking trails, categorised by region and graded by difficulty.

Outdoor Pursuits

Before you head off on your next adventure, you might want to check out Outdoor Pursuits, an online reviewer of all the latest gear. If you need new gear and you're not sure what to go for, this could be the place for you. Whatever your passion, skiing, paddling, hiking, climbing or pretty much anything else in the world of outdoor adventures, this website offers detailed reviews breaking down all the pros and cons so you know exactly what your getting. Visit www.outsidepursuits.com.

Walkway, Derreen Gardens, Kerry, Ireland

About Outdoors Ireland

When discussing outdoor pursuits in Ireland, we have to make special mention of Outdoors Ireland because they offer such a range of activities over such a large area of The Emerald Isle.

As well as guided kayak trips on the Lakes of Killarney and guided sea kayaking in Galway Bay, the offer guided hikes, biking, mountains skills courses, rock climbing, canyoning and more. As well as dedicated outdoors enthusiasts, they welcome Hen & Stag parties, team-building groups and business training days. More about Outdoors Ireland ...

Find out more about choosing a kayak by visiting Aquascene's kayaking resource. Aquascene are UK-based specialists in watersports equipment.

Seafaring folk of Ireland may also be interested in Grunt Boat Cleaner which takes the grunt out of cleaning your boat. Online orders taken and delivery to Ireland available.

About Real Adventures Connemara

Find out more about choosing a kayak by visiting Aquascene's kayaking resource. Aquascene are UK-based specialists in watersports equipment.

Find out more about choosing a kayak by visiting Aquascene's kayaking resource. Aquascene are UK-based specialists in watersports equipment.

My Ireland Travel Guide

Barrels at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin City

Ireland's much-loved capital and the gateway to the Emerald Isle. A vibrant, modern and outward-facing city, most Ireland tours and vacations begin here. Read more...

  • Guinness Storehouse
  • Trinity College
  • Temple Bar Quarter
  • The Book of Kells
  • Dublin Castle
About Dublin
Lighthouse in Hook Head

Wicklow & the East

This wild landscape of gorse and bracken is home to many of Ireland's most significant archaeological finds, as well its grandest estates. Read more...

  • Powerscourt Estate
  • Glendalough Settlement
  • Brú na Bóinne
  • Battle of The Boyne
  • National Stud
About the East
The Cliffs of Moher

Galway & the West

Pack walking boots, a camera and a sense of adventure as you head west for Galway, County Clare and the Wild Atalantic Way. Heritage, tradition and Read more...

  • Kylemore Abbey
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Clonmacnoise Settlement
  • Clare Music Sessions
  • The Burren Landscape
About the West
Kilkenny Castle by the riverside

Kilkenny & South-East

The sunny South East. Ireland's warmest and driest region is also one of its most popular destinations with tourists and locals alike. Read more...

  • The Rock of Cashel
  • Waterford Crystal
  • Lismore Castle
  • Tintern Abbey
  • St Canice's Cathedral
The South East
Sheep in Kerry, Ireland

Cork and Kerry

Wind-swept, welcoming and rugged, Ireland South West typifies what visitors expect Ireland to look like – vibrant, vivid and verdant. Read more...

  • Cork English Market
  • Blarney Castle
  • The Ring of Kerry
  • Killarney Nat. Park
  • Skellig Michael
The South West
Trad Session in Donegal, Ireland

Donegal and Sligo

Less well-trodden than Dublin, Belfast or Killarney, this picturesque region invites you to get outdoors. Don't forget your camera! Read more...

  • Slieve League Cliffs
  • Lakes and Loughs
  • Maghera Beach
  • Errigal Mountain
  • Glencolmcille Village
The North West
The Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland

Belfast & The North

In peace, Belfast and the North have staked their rightful claim as some of the Island of Ireland's most iconic and cultural regions. Read more...

  • The City of Belfast
  • Titanic Belfast
  • Giant's Causeway
  • Carrick-a-Rede
  • The City of Derry
Northern Ireland
Solo traveller admiring the coastal view in Ireland

Ireland Solo Travel

Whether you're looking to meet new people or just yearning get away from it all, Ireland is a great place to travel independently. Read more...

  • Experience the Culture
  • Find Your Inner Peace
  • Discover New Paths
  • Start a Course
  • Experience the Nightlife
Northern Ireland

Find your Way Around