Ireland has two hugely popular, indigenous amateur sports, hurling and Gaelic football, which occupy a special place in the country’s social fabric as ancient games whose renaissance was entwined with the struggle for independence. When played at the highest level, Gaelic football is a fast, skilful and muscular sport, in which the strongest rivalry is between old adversaries Dublin and Kerry. It’s more widespread, though more recently developed, than hurling, which is said to have descended from a game played by the legendary warrior Cúchulainn. With its heartland extending in a rough, low-lying arc from Wexford to southeast Galway, hurling is an exciting, intricately skilled stick-and-ball game that’s said to be the fastest team-sport in the world. Inter-county matches grab the limelight, but the backbone of the Gaelic Athletic Association are parish clubs throughout the country, which are the heart and soul of many communities, with around 300,000 members. If you can’t get to a match yourself, the best place to get a flavour of these passionately supported games is the Croke Park GAA Museum in Dublin.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Ireland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Spring equinox at Loughcrew: waking up to Ireland’s secret rock art

Spring equinox at Loughcrew: waking up to Ireland’s secret rock art

The Loughcrew hills near the centre of Ireland are little-known – but at the spring equinox they take on a special magic. On this spring bank holiday, Paul C…

01 May 2017 • Paul Clements local_activity Special feature
6 of the best road trips in the UK

6 of the best road trips in the UK

There is something about a road trip that creates an endless state of heightened excitement. It comes with a heart-in-mouth, funfair-like thrill. And no matter …

11 Apr 2017 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
In pictures: 12 reasons why you should visit Ireland

In pictures: 12 reasons why you should visit Ireland

With its remote beauty, rugged landscapes and windswept coastlines, Ireland is a photographer's dream. Philip Joyce shares some of his favourite pictures of…

17 Mar 2017 • Philip Joyce insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month