Life and Culture


The culture of Ireland refers to the idiosyncratic cultural norms of Ireland and the Irish people. The culture of the people living in the island of Ireland is far from monolithic, due to various plantations down through the centuries. Notable cultural divides exist between urban Irish and rural Irish, between the Catholic and Protestant people of Northern Ireland, between the Irish-speaking people inside and outside the Gaeltacht regions and the English-speaking majority population, increasingly between new immigrants and the native population, and most strikingly, the traveller population and the settled population throughout the island. Halloween is a traditional and much celebrated holiday in Ireland on the night of Oct 31. The primary religion in the Republic of Ireland is Christianity. Irish Christianity is dominated by the Roman Catholic Church. Historically, prior to the arrival of Christianity, Celtic polytheism was the dominant religion of the nation. Pub culture, as it is termed, pervades Irish society, across all cultural divides. The term refers to the Irish habit of frequenting public houses (pubs) or bars.

Sport in Ireland is popular and widespread. Throughout the country, a wide variety of sports are played, the most popular being Gaelic football, hurling, rugby union, soccer and hockey. Gaelic football is the most popular sport in Ireland in terms of match attendance and community involvement, and represents 34% of total sports attendances at events in Ireland and abroad, followed by hurling at 23%, soccer at 16% and rugby at 8% and the All-Ireland Football Final is the most watched event in Ireland’s sporting calendar. Swimming, golf, aerobics, soccer, cycling, Gaelic football and billiards/snooker are the sporting activities with the highest levels of playing participation. Soccer is the most popular sport involving national teams.