Exploring Ireland's Rugby Heartlands: Must-Visit Places for Rugby Fans - The Rugby Observer

Exploring Ireland's Rugby Heartlands: Must-Visit Places for Rugby Fans

Rugby Editorial 3rd Jan, 2024 Updated: 4th Jan, 2024   0

Any rugby fan worth their salt will be well aware of Ireland’s contribution to the sport’s history. Of the many rugby-loving nations, Ireland has some of the richest rugby heritage and a passionate fanbase. From iconic stadiums to some of the most charming rugby pubs, here’s your must-see rugby tour in Ireland.

Northern Ireland

Belfast – Kingspan Stadium

Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium, also colloquially known as the Ravenhill Stadium to many, is the stomping ground of Ulster Rugby, another mainstay of Irish rugby. It’s been around since 1923, but the Ulsterman team formed an eye-watering century and a half ago, in 1868. Belfast has become home for some of rugby’s greats, including David Humphreys, Tom Court, Rory Best and Rob Herring. Belfast is also a great city to wander around, offering a wealth of Irish history in its own right.

Republic of Ireland

Dublin – Aviva Stadium

Your rugby pilgrimage should start in Dublin, home to the renowned Aviva Stadium. This state-of-the-art venue, replacing the historic Landsdowne Road in 2010, hosts international matches regularly and provides an electric atmosphere on gameday that really captures the essence of Irish rugby. Before the game, you have to explore Dublin’s many rugby pubs, some of which are hundreds of years old.

Limerick – Thomond Park

Limerick is synonymous with rugby, thanks in large part to the legendary Thomond Park. Thomond is the home of Munster Rugby, one of Ireland’s most successful teams, and they’ve got a great fan base to match. We highly recommend taking a stadium tour to learn more about the rich history that is baked into the walls of this stadium.

Galway – The Sportsground

Galway’s Sportsground, home to Connacht Rugby, offers one of the more intimate settings for rugby matches. Galway is famed for its surfing and beautiful coastal walks. Experience the famous warmth of Irish locals by soaking up pre and post-match hospitality outside of the stadium, too. The smaller cities and towns in particular give you a unique glimpse into Irish culture.

Considering an Extended Stay

With so much of Ireland to explore, your stay could be extended to several months. If you would like to stay longer, or if you find yourself wanting to explore living in Ireland for a period of time, you may try consulting immigration solicitors in Ireland. Even for those without passport qualifications, it’s not out of the question to stay in Ireland for a whole rugby season if you want to. However, you will need to obtain the necessary visas or permits, to ensure a legally compliant stay in the country.

Ireland’s rugby culture is deeply ingrained in its society, and visiting these rugby heartlands allows enthusiasts like us to connect with the sport on a profound level, in a different country. Warwickshire being the town that invented the sport, it’s moving to see how it has been adopted and loved around the world. It’s an experience that can only be appreciated first-hand, making Ireland a must-visit locale for rugby fans.

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