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Sport is a huge part of Irish culture and the Irish pride themselves on being die hard supporters of their local clubs and county teams. Many of the traditional Irish sports are amateur, meaning that the players don’t get paid and it isn’t their full time occupation but their skill, commitment and passion never waivers! While staying at your luxury Sunlight Properties holiday letting, why not take the opportunity to watch one of these great Irish sports.
Thought to be the oldest field game in the world, hurling was introduced to Ireland about 2000 years ago by the Celts. It features greatly in folklore including the ancient legend of “Cuchulain” (pronounced “Koo-Kullen”) who was himself a skilled hurler. Fast paced and always exciting, 15 players each have a “hurley” or “hurl”, known as a camán (pronounced “come-awn”) in Gaelic. It's a curved wooden stick, waist height in length with a flat end which is used to hit a small white leather ball called a “Sliotar” (prounounced “shli-ther”). Traditionally, hurleys are made out of wood from the native ash tree. During a game, there is a lot of colliding of hurleys and this is known as “the clash of the ash”. It’s not uncommon for players to break a hurley or two during a match.
At either end of the pitch stand the goalposts, which are not unlike rugby posts. If you hit the ball over the bar, between the posts, it’s a point. The two lower posts are netted at the back, like a soccer goal. Just to confuse things, scoring a goal is the equivalent of 3 points. The female version is called “Camogie” and the main difference is that the hurleys (more commonly called camogie sticks) used by women don’t have the steel band found on the end of men’s hurleys.
Football in Ireland is not the same as football in the rest of the world! In Gaelic football, the players are allowed to raise the ball off the ground with a toe kick. They then use a series of bounces, solos, hand passes, and long kicks to get the ball either into the goal or over the bar for a point. The ball is rarely kicked on the ground. The scoring works the same as in hurling.
Each county in Ireland has their own hurling and football team and each year sees many battles on the pitch for various trophies. County pride is fierce and all the players come from the county they play for.
Croke Park in Drumcondra, Dublin 9, is the site for both the Hurling and Football All Ireland Senior Championships and the home ground for the Dublin teams. If you get the chance, a visit to Croke Park to watch a game is an absolute must, to make this a truly memorable holiday.
Rugby is also very popular in Ireland. So popular in fact, that it has generated a second anthem. At home games, the Irish National anthem is played first, followed by “Ireland’s Call”. Previously regarded in many parts of Ireland as being an “English” game, it didn’t become nationally popular until much later in the 20th Century. The Aviva stadium on Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4 is the home ground for Leinster and Ireland and has recently been redesigned. This vacation, why not spend an exhilarating afternoon here watching some great sport? Click here to view Sunlight Properties range of holiday rental homes located nearby.
With over 400 golf courses, Ireland is a premium spot for golf. The Ryder Cup was held in Ireland in 2006. Some of our best golfers include Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy. There are plenty of golfclubs in Dublin to enjoy on your holiday. To name but a few, take your pick of Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare; The K Club at Straffan, Co. Kildare and the Island Links in Donabate, Co. Dublin.
Equestrian sports are very popular in Ireland and horse racing is a fun and exiting day out. The largest races in Ireland are held in August every year in Galway but there are very fine courses at Punchestown, about half an hour outside Dublin city, and at Leopardstown on the outskirts of Dublin city. For an easy way to experience horse racing on your visit to Ireland, simply get the Luas from Stephen’s Green to Leopardstown and enjoy a day at the races.
Greyhound racing involves greyhounds chasing a “lure” - normally a fake rabbit or hare, around a racetrack to the finish line. There are many racecourses around the country and two in Dublin: Harold's Cross Racecourse, Harold's Cross, Dublin 6W, and Shelbourne Park Racecourse, Ringsend, Dublin 4. Both are easily accessible from your short term Sunlight Properties holiday rental property in Dublin city.