Roar with the crowd at a Gaelic Football match, soar off a sea cliff or tee off in one of the world’s most magnificent golf courses
Ireland enjoys a spectacular coastline with everything from glassy inlets to soaring seacliffs and pristine white beaches, so it’s no surprise that there’s a wide-range of watersports on offer. From surfing to waterskiing and from sailing to swimming, the Irish enthusiasm for getting wet is boundless. Beyond the sea, you’ll find an island rich with tranquil waterways with meandering rivers, picturesque canals and peaceful lakes – perfect places to canoe, sail and swim.
Is Ireland good for golf?
Ireland is an ideal destination for a golfing holiday. With internationally acclaimed courses situated in some exceptionally beautiful locations, Ireland has become the destination of choice for golfers in the know. In 2006, the famed K Club hosted the Ryder Cup – a fabulous success that cemented Ireland’s golf pedigree. With fantastic championship courses, thrilling vistas, luxurious resorts, friendly people and a mild climate that’s perfect for outdoor sports, Ireland is ideal for all types of golfer.
I’d like to do a marathon in Ireland…
Marathon runners have a pick of three marathons in Ireland with the Dublin City Marathon, the Belfast Marathon and the Cork City Marathon. Internationally known as the “friendly marathon” because of the enthusiasm of the supporters lining the streets, the Dublin Marathon takes runners through the historic Georgian streets of the Republic’s capital and attracts over 10,000 competitors. The Belfast City Marathon also attracts athletes from all over the world to Northern Ireland for a marathon run and walk, team relay and fun run. While Cork is hosting its first marathon in 21 years and includes a team relay event so runners can share the big event.
And what about football and rugby?
The Irish adore football and rugby. The Irish rugby team is enthusiastically supported throughout top European, national and International tournaments, such as the Rugby World Cup, the Six Nations, European rugby and the Magners League. Football is a passion at both a national and an international level, and if you’re lucky enough to see the Irish team play at home you’re in for an experience you’ll never forget – the Irish fans are legendary!
I’d like to find out more about indigenous Irish sports
It’d be a pity to come to Ireland and not experience our very own fast-paced brands of football and hurling. Gaelic football is one of the country’s most popular spectator sports; it’s a mixture of football and rugby and it’s believed to have been a heavy influence in the formation of Aussie Rules. The official Gaelic Games also include hurling – Europe’s oldest field game; rounders – like baseball; handball; Ladies Football and Camogie (women’s hurling).
I like to take things at a gentler pace, what’s out there for me?
Ireland is a laid back country, a place where you can really escape the stresses and strains of everyday life with inspirational landscapes and tranquil activities. The country also offers umpteen opportunities to take things at your own pace with fishing, horse riding and cycling. It’s also definitely worth checking out a walking festival – the Slieve Bloom Walking Festival and the Mournes Walking Festival both offer an excellent chance to see the stunning Irish countryside, while having great fun with like-minded walkers!
And for a bit of adventure?
Adrenalin junkies will get a good hit in Ireland – the country’s dramatic landscape makes it perfect for abseiling, bungee, caving, mountain biking, hand gliding and skydiving. And whether you want to dash through pristine waters on your very own jet-ski or ride the rapids in a kayak – Ireland’s got it sorted. Adventure enthusiasts should make sure to check out Gaelforcewest Adventure Race and Festival, with multi-sport extreme adventure events, such as skydiving and wakeboarding set amidst the rugged terrain of the west of Ireland.
I’m a bit of a speed freak, so what’s on?
If you’re a fan of fast cars then you’re in for a real treat. This year sees the World Rally Championship in November featuring an amazing cross-border initiative with competitors racing back and forth between the Republic and Northern Ireland. It’ll be a tough challenge for drivers and is set to be an unmissable event. The Shell Donegal International Rally has been at the forefront of Irish motorsports for the last 35 years and boasts some of the world’s most thrilling stages; while the Ulster Grand Prix has been going since 1922 and is one of the premier events in Ireland for fans of motor cycle road racing; along with North West 200, which has a circuit reputed to be one of the fastest in the world.