In Ireland sport and activities play a big role in the local communities and society in general. For the visitor and sporting enthusiast these popular areas can be divided into professional spectator sports that offer visitors on an Ireland vacation a fun day out for spectators to a range of activities that take advantage of the spectacular Irish outdoors.
As a sporting nation Ireland has a wide range of sporting options and has enjoyed great success in a number of fields. In the international sporting arena Ireland can claim soccer (association football) rugby, boxing, golf, snooker, horse racing and the equestrian sports of show jumping as its’ most successful areas. In more recent times Irish teams have also found some success in athletics, cricket and rowing.
With its natural landscape comprising of coastal areas, mountains and valleys it is unsurprising that Ireland offers a whole host of activities and outdoor pursuit options for the adventurous and active minded. Starting on foot the magnificent outdoor scenery offers great hillwalking, intense hiking and leisurely walks and ambling opportunities with many noted walks and special-walking festivals held throughout the country.
Aside from team sports Ireland is also world renowned for golf and its wide variety of scenic and challenging golf courses whether it be a links or parkland course.
The Irish coastline is dotted with challenging links courses carved out from the natural coastal landscape which has attracted some the world's best golfers and even the odd US President, former President Bill Clinton known to have regular trips to Ireland and, in particular, to Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare.
Other well known links courses include Ballybunion, Portmarnock and Royal County Down. Inland you can find some of Europe's finest parkland courses including Mount Juliet, The K Club, Fota Island Golf Club Cork, Carton House and Druids Glen. The K Club played host the Ryder Cup in 2006 which show the European Team captained by Ian Woosnam emerge victorious.
The water and sea offers the active and adventurous visitor a wealth of new opportunities. Inland there are many angling and fishing opportunities like kayaking and canoeing along the rivers and lakes that offers an alternative and action packed view of the local scenery and wildlife.
The full range of watersports and waterbased activities can be explored along the coastal areas though with many available in the summertime and indeed all year. Among the watersports and activities on offer are sailing, surfing, windsurfing, watersking, waterboarding, and deep sea diving to name just some.
Surfing in particular is becoming a very popular and noteworthy sporting activity catering to both experienced and beginners with Ireland having hosted the European Surf Championships in 2011. The north west area of the country has become a mecca for surfers from across the globe to avail of the the great waves produced by the Atlantic Ocean.