Insider Tips

Dublin: A Sporting City

By Visit Dublin

27th November 2018

Dublin is a city made for sport, and international football fans will get to see what all the fuss is about during the UEFA Euro 2020 when a quartet of games will be hosted in the Aviva – a world-class stadium and outstanding venue for showcasing high-profile sporting events.

And it’s not just internationally-beloved team sports that Dublin caters so brilliantly for: whatever your interest, there’s something for everyone – whether you want to take part or spectate. The wide breadth of sports offers a chance to truly get to know Dublin, as the following 10 examples illustrate…

Footballer Robbie Brady celebrates after scoring goal for Ireland

1. Football

The Aviva Stadium is the home of the Irish football team. UEFA Euro 2020 will be the biggest international sporting event to be hosted in Dublin, and organisers and hospitality venues alike will be getting into gear to highlight all that our wonderful city has to offer. Our national team has had some ups and downs over its history, but playing in the warmth of the home hearth for the Euros is sure to inspire our boys in green! 

2. Rugby

The Irish rugby team is currently ranked second in the world, after winning the 2018 Six Nations Championship with a Grand Slam. The Aviva Stadium is home to international rugby matches annually, from grand Six Nations weekends to an impressive Autumn series of events. With every team success (and thrillingly, there have been many) Dublin grows even wilder for rugby, and there are a host of things to do and see on special rugby days

3. Hockey

Close to 170 clubs are affiliated with Hockey Ireland, the governing body for field hockey in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The sport is also extremely popular in Irish schools – over 280 are members. The Irish women's hockey team has seen particular success, recently winning the silver medal at the 2018 Women's Hockey World Cup.

People enjoying the view on Ericsson skyline tour.

4. GAA

Croke Park’s hallowed turf has witnessed some indelible Irish sporting occasions over the years and its award-winning museum brings you up close and personal with the thrills of hurling and Gaelic football. Those with a head for heights should try its Ericsson Skyline tour, where you get to walk along part of the roof of the Cusack stand – the bird’s eye view of the stadium and a breathtaking 360-degree panorama of Dublin’s skyline from the top is unforgettable. 

5. Endurance sports

Dublin’s marvellous mountain and sea setting makes it a perfect place for adrenaline junkies to get their fix – anyone keen to do a triathlon with a difference should sign up to Gaelforce, which involves trail running and cycling in the uplands of South Dublin on 23 March 2019. Those who want to incorporate swimming into their triathlon will want to hit Ironman 70.3 in Dún Laoghaire on 25 August 2019 – it all begins in the waters there. The Dublin Mountains are the perfect playground for adventurous types, with activities ranging from cycling and hiking tours to ziplining and treetop adventure courses for the truly fearless. 

Sailing boats at Dun Laoghaire Regatta

6. Sailing

The Volvo Dún Laoghaire Regatta is an unmissable biennial event, next happening in July 2019. The races take place alongside a festive atmosphere on the Dún Laoghaire waterfront, making the occasion enjoyable not only for sailing enthusiasts but also for familes looking for a fun summer vibe. 

7. Tennis

There’s an abundance of options for fans of the racket, but the courts at Herbert Park in Ballsbridge are especially well maintained. The park itself is a delight, irrespective of the season – there’s a fine playground as well as amenities for lawn bowling and croquet. History lovers are in for a treat too, because it was here in 1907 that the spectacular World’s Fair was held. The duck pond was originally part of a huge water chute that was one of the attractions of its day. 

Sailing boats in Howth Harbour

8. Watersports

Howth is another watersports paradise, and lovers of scuba diving, stand-up paddling and canoeing will be well catered for. It’s also a hub for windsurfing, thanks to the near-perfect climatic and sea conditions. Dalkey is something of a Mecca for lovers of the great outdoors – there’s rock climbing and open-water swimming, and it’s one of the best places on the east coast to go kayaking. 

With the Irish Sea just a short hop from the city centre, it’s little wonder that so many water-based activities take place there along Dublin Bay, but thrill seekers can also get their kicks in the heart of the so-called Silicon Docks. They’ve had wakeboarding at Grand Canal Dock for several years now, and it’s a perfect way to let off a bit of steam on the water. 

9. Rowing

The still Liffey waters at Islandbridge are ideal for rowing and several clubs are located there, including Trinity College and UCD. The adjacent War Memorial Park is one of Dublin’s great green lungs, while the Edwin Lutyens’ designed War Memorial Gardens is a symmetrical masterpiece. Don’t miss the Liffey walk into the historic village of Chapelizod – it’s perfect for a meditative stroll with river and nature surrounding you.

Showjumping at Dublin Horse Show

10. Equestrian sports

The elegant sport of polo has been played at the Phoenix Park since 1873. The Polo Grounds are located close to the zoo and offer a perfect opportunity to explore this magical park – the largest walled city park in Europe. It’s also the ideal place, no matter the season, for a lengthy walk, run or cycle and it's long been a playground for GAA players, footballers and cricketers. 

As a nation of horse lovers, it’s no surprise that Dubliners flock to the races throughout the year. Leopardstown meets have a special place in the hearts of many, with a number of race festivals and events taking place each year. The Dublin Horse Show is a veritable Dublin institution, first held in 1864. This summer highlight sees thousands of visitors from Ireland and internationally, and runs annually for five days of show jumping, entertainment and live music.
 

When people think of Dublin, they traditionally think of Guinness, craic and traditional music; but as well as providing all those things, it's a sport lover's paradise! Dublin's rich sporting history and world-class venues, along with its friendly people and hospitality, offer visitors a holiday to remember.

Dublin is alive with culture, music and entertainment, making it a dream destination for your short break away. Visit Dublin has already compiled a host of itineraries, guides and tips for you, taking all the hard work out of planning the trip. You'll never be stuck for inspiration in our beautiful city!

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