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Ireland is a must-visit for sports fans

21st September 2023 Print

Ireland is a country with a rich heritage of art, music, dance, literature, food, and drink, but arguably one of its most notable cultural icons is sport. True greats have emerged out of the Emerald Isle and have made a decisive impact on the global stage. It is why visiting some of the hotbeds of sport in the country should be a destination for all sports-mad fans.

Horse Racing

Horse racing is the beating heart of Irish sport. Your nearest racecourse should be within a short drive from every major city, but where are the best ones to visit? Leopardstown Racecourse is based just an hour outside of Dublin and is arguably the top racing track in the country.

If you want to see top-tier flat and jumps racing then it’s the place to be. In terms of excitement and atmosphere, you’ll struggle to find a better venue anywhere in Europe, especially for the top races. 

The signature race held at Leopardstown in the summer is the Irish Champion Stakes, where legendary trainer Aiden O’Brien has dominated by winning the event 12 times, including the last five in a row. His 2023 winner Auguste Rodin is one to watch in the horse racing odds of 6/1 to follow his Irish win with another in the British Champions Stakes.  You’ll also find jumps racing, including the Irish Champion Hurdle and Irish Gold Cup featuring the great Willie Mullins and Henry de Bromhead.

If you want to go in well-armed before your visit check out today's racing results and the form guides before taking a trip to Leopardstown. Given its proximity to Dublin, you can commute from the city fairly easily, and ticket prices are reasonable for seats in the general enclosure. To witness some of the greatest sporting action Ireland has to offer, it’s a small price to pay.


Rugby Union is another sport that Irish people hold dear to their hearts. The four leading teams represent the regions of Munster, Leinster, Connacht, and Ulster, who ply their trade in the United Rugby Championship. These sides compete against other leading outfits from across the world, including Wales, Scotland, Italy, and South Africa.

These games are always highly intense affairs, but the outstanding standard of competition only befits the Irish national team. Ireland games are a must-see event, especially the Six Nations. The Aviva Stadium is located in the centre of Dublin, allowing easy access to the venue via car or public transport.

It is a cauldron of atmosphere, especially during Ireland’s Call before kick-off. When the game is in action, Ireland always brings their best in front of their home fans. The country has had a proud history of producing elite players such as Brian O’Driscoll and Jonny Sexton, who have not only earned recognition in the Six Nations but also globally for their exploits against the Southern Hemisphere sides.

Depending on the opponent, tickets may be like hotcakes, notably against England. They’ll set you back at least £70 for a basic seat, although premium tickets can range up to £200. It’s not a cheap experience, but it’s a sporting experience of a lifetime for any fan of the races.