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 2020/2021 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.
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.
Today, almost 200,000 people are registered rugby players in Ireland – from club and school teams, through the intense rivalry of inter-county competition, to the national teams.
Hundreds of small clubs play rugby across Ireland, all welcoming of new members. These teams cater to local men and women who love the game, children with aspirations of national fame, and players with disabilities. Dublin’s teams play within the Leinster Rugby competition. Want to play? Find a club with their handy map.
There are four provincial rugby teams on the island of Ireland – Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connacht. They compete among themselves and with similar sized teams from the UK and Europe. Leinster’s home games are played in Dublin’s RDS Arena in Ballsbridge or the aforementioned Aviva Stadium.
Irish people follow GAA sports and football more avidly than they do rugby, but everyone seems to have an opinion on the international rugby teams. After crushing the New Zealand All-Blacks at an iconic match in November 2018, the senior men’s team cemented its place as the world’s second-best team, with aspirations to wrest first place from New Zealand in upcoming championships.
The senior women’s team won the 2013 and 2015 Six Nations Championships and came fourth at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
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 headquarte
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,