The Indigenous Irish sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling are both completely amateur sports administered and promoted by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). If you're in Ireland during or between the months of February and September you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not going to see an Inter-county Gaelic Football or Hurling game, watching a Gaelic match live is both an exiting and uniquely Irish experience.

All 32 counties on the Island of Ireland (including Northern Ireland), compete at Inter-county level along with teams from London, New York and Warwickshire (although these are mostly comprised of Irish expats or their children). Each year counties compete in 3 different competitions which are; The National League (Football has 4 divisions and Hurling has 6), Provincial Championship (Ireland is spilt into 4 provinces - Leinster, Munster, Ultster and Connacht) and The All Ireland (This is the main prize, counties enter The All Ireland at different stages depending on how they fared in their Provincial Championship). There are also under 21 and Minor (under 18) competitions contended at county level, these matches often take place as curtain raisers to senior matches.

The National League runs from February through to May, with Semi- Finals, Finals and Relegation Play-Offs eventually determining who is crowned Champions of their respective League, and also who is promoted to or relegated from each division. The four Provincial Championships are contended between May and July while there is some overlap with the All Ireland Series, which runs from June to September, as teams who are knocked out of their Provincial competition join the All Ireland Championship earlier than teams who go further.

Each county has their own stadium, so wherever you happen to travel to in Ireland their could well be a Inter-County Football or Hurling match taking place near you, although your best chance of catching a match is probably in Dublin. There are two GAA stadiums in Dublin, which are Parnell Park (The home of Dublin GAA) and Croke Park (The Head Quarters of the GAA), although Parnell Park is technically Dublin's home they often play most of their games in Croke Park becuase of it's location and the fact that it can seat more people (82,000). Croke Park also usually hosts National League Semi-Finals, Finals and Play-Offs, Leinster Championship Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Finals and All-Ireland matches from Round 4 through to the Final. Other major stadiums include Portlaoise, Thurles and Nowlan Park.

You can check match fixtures at and can buy tickets at so definitely have a look if you're visiting Ireland and are looking for something a little different.

If you're travelling to Ireland outside of the GAA season, or you're unlucky enough to be visiting on a weekend with no matches taking place, there are still other ways to get your Gaelic Games fix. here's a list of great GAA related activities,

1) Croke Park Stadium Tour -

Take a full guided tour of Croke Park, see the dressing rooms, the press rooms and walk pitch-side while learning about the largest amateur stadium in the world.

2) Croke Park Etihad Skyline Tour -

Walk the gang ways and cat walks around the top on Croke Park and look out across the city from 5 different, 17 storey high, viewing platforms. You'll learn the history of Croke Park, as well as the many sights you can see, from the audio guides provided.

3) The GAA Museum -

This included is in the price of both the Stadium Tour and the Skyline Tour, and also available separately. The GAA Museum gives an in-depth look into the History of Gaelic Games and the GAA, as well as a look at the rules, the rivalries, the competitions and the greatest players of the past. There's archive footage of classic matches, jerseys worn by greats, and an interactive section where you can try the games out yourself.

 4) Experience Gaelic Games -

If you fancy really getting your teeth into actually playing Gaelic Games this is the place for you. It's ran from a genuine GAA club by fully certified GAA coaches, they'll show you some of the techniques and skills required to play Gaelic Games and let you have a bit of a match! They can also arrange tickets and transport to a match after if you want.

5) The Kilkenny Way -

For anyone who doesn't know, Kilkenny are the first and last word in Hurling, arguably the best team to ever play the game. To put them in context they are to Hurling what Barcelona or The All-Blacks are to Football and Rugby. The Kilkenny Experience strives to show you some of that rich heritage with a guided tour of their home ground, Nowlan Park and a training session on the pitch.

 The GAA is a huge part of Irish life, it would be a shame for any visitor not to get a glimpse of it, so check out some of the links and get involved!