I toyed with calling this post five things that will keep the husbands and boyfriends happy, but in all honesty, each of these things would be interesting and enjoyable even if you aren’t completely sports obsessed!
When I first moved to Dublin, I didn’t realize what a vital role sports play in everyones’ lives. Irish people love sports, and I’m not just talking about my basketball-obsessed husband! There’s soccer, rugby, gaelic football, hurling, field hockey, and the list goes on. I think one of the best ways to get to know Irish culture is by checking out a sporty activity while you’re here. And of course, if you live here, I’m sure you’ve already been to one or more of these – but the rest are worth checking out too!
Here are a few sporty activities to check out in Dublin!
Croke Park is the big stadium on the city’s north side. Croke Park (also known as Croker by locals) is where mostly gaelic games are played, like gaelic football and hurling. If you can catch a match, do. Do a little research on the teams that are playing (have a local teach you how to sing Those Boys in Blue to support the Dublin teams!), and wear one of the team’s colors. If you’re feeling really daring, buy tickets for Hill 16, the standing room only section for the rowdy fans.
If you can’t catch a match, you can take the Croke Park Experience tour and visit the stadium’s museum to learn about the history of the sports and even walk down onto the field!
On the south side, the big sports stadium is called the Aviva Stadium, and it’s at the Lansdowne Road Dart stop – the train actually goes through the stadium! Rugby and soccer are both played at the Aviva, and concerts are held here as well. Again, try to catch a match. The bigger matches will sell out, but you should be able to get tickets to smaller matches on game day.
Again, if you can’t make a match, take one of the Aviva stadium tours. The building itself is architecturally, and the hour long tour manages to keep even little ones’ attention. You’ll get a chance to peek into the players’ locker rooms and learn about their game day routines!
I always thought it was a little strange that staff nights out for companies would involve “going to the dogs”, or spending an evening at the dog races. But I suppose when in Rome, huh? A lot of clubs or sports teams will do fundraisers at the dog races, getting big groups of people together to bet around €2 per race. I’ve never heard of anyone winning much money, but it can be a fun activity for an evening! Try here or here.
If you can’t manage to get to a match in Dublin, the best alternative is finding a pub. Doesn’t matter what time of day or night, there’s bound to be some sports match on the television and a group gathered yelling or grumbling for one team or another. Pull up a stool, order a pint, and you might even get one of the locals to explain the intricacies of hurling or camogie to you! Another tip? If there’s a big match on, try a pub near the stadium for a little extra atmosphere!
There are tons of activities you can do in and around Dublin if you’re interested in getting some exercise, not watching other people get theirs. From kite surfing to hiking to mountain biking, there are endless options within a few miles of the city centre. But the simplest and cheapest? Grab a Dublin Bike, plot yourself a course, and explore the city. I wrote a whole bunch of tips for renting Dublin Bikes in this post here (and bonus, Emily with blond hair!).
Are you planning, or thinking of planning, a trip to Dublin? Check out Expedia for booking flights or finding hotels when planning a city break to my lovely city! And, don’t forget to embark upon your very own Irish sporting adventure.