Gaelic Games

Gaelic Games are games which are originally from Ireland and are organized by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). The most popular games in Ireland, considering the amount of attendants and supporters are Gaelic football, Gaelic handball, hurling, and camogie.


Gaelic Football
Derived from traditional Irish ball games, just football or Gaelic, as Gaelic Football is often referred to, is an Irish team sport. Gaelic football is a ball game played on a grass pitch between two teams, consisting of 15 players each. Players have the objective to pass the leather ball across the grass pitch and through the goal of the opposite team in order to earn points and goals. The ball can be carried, bounced, kicked, hand-passed and soloed (kicked with the tip of your shoe back to your hands). Points are signaled by the raise of a white flag and are awarded for kicking or hand-passing the ball over the crossbar; whereas, the goals are signaled by the raising of a green flag and are awarded for kicking the ball under the crossbar and into the net. Positions and roles of the players are similar to those in other football codes.

handball_mainGaelic Handball
Gaelic Handball can be played with two players or four players; in other words, it can be played in singles, and in doubles. It is played in a court or an “alley” which is measuring 60 feet by 30 feet, or alternatively in a smaller alley measuring 40 feet by 20 feet. Gaelic Handball is related to, and almost identical to American Handball. The objective of Gaelic Handball, often referred to as just handball in Ireland, is to hit a ball with a hand or a fist to your opposition in such a way that the opposition cannot return the shot in order to score a point. Only the person who serves the ball can score a point, and in order to win the game, you should score a set a total of points before your opponent does.

23 June 2010; Daire Plunkett, Dublin, in action against Paul Murphy, Kilkenny. Bord Gais Energy Leinster GAA Hurling Under 21 Championship Semi-Final, Kilkenny v Dublin, Nowlan Park, Kilkenny. Picture credit: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

Named after a wooden stick used in the game, or hurley, the objective of this ancient game of Gaelic and Irish origin is to hit a small ball, called a sliotar, between the opponents’ goalposts. The sliotar can be hit over the cross bar, which rewards the team with one point; or under the crossbar and into a net pass the goalkeeper, which brings three points to the team. The players can carry the sliotar in the hand for not more than four steps, struck it in the air, or on the ground with the hurley. Hurling has prehistoric origins, as it has been played for over 3,000 years. It is also considered to be the worlds’ fasted field sport. Hurling is similar to Gaelic football, in terms of numbers of players, terminology and the fact that it’s a field sport.



Almost identical to hurling, camogie is a stick-and-ball game. Camogie is played on a wide field, with H-shape goal posts, players are divided into two teams, and yes, they are women! Each year 100,000 women in Ireland and worldwide play camogie divided in two teams consisting of 15 players each and they have a ball!

Comments are closed.