Gaelic games (Irish: Cluichí Gaelacha) are a set of sports played worldwide, though they are particularly popular in Ireland, where they originated. They include Gaelic football, hurling, Gaelic handball and rounders. Football and hurling, the most popular of the sports, are both organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Women's versions of hurling and football are also played: camogie, organised by the Camogie Association of Ireland, and ladies' Gaelic football, organised by the Ladies' Gaelic Football Association. While women's versions are not organised by the GAA (with the exception of handball, where men's and women's handball competitions are both organised by the GAA Handball organisation), they are closely associated with it but are still separate organisations.
Gaelic games clubs exist all over the world. They are Ireland's most popular sports, ahead of rugby union and association football. Almost a million people (977,723) attended 45 GAA senior championships games in 2017 (up 29% in hurling and 22% in football on 2016 figures) combined with attendances at other championship and league games generating gate receipts of €34,391,635.
Gaelic games are designated within the primary school curriculum as requiring "particular consideration."
Gaelic football is played by teams of 15 on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end. The primary object is to score by driving the ball through the goals, which is known as a goal (worth 3 points), or by kicking the ball over the bar, which is known as a point (worth 1 point). The team with the highest point score at the end of the match wins. The female version of the game is known as ladies' Gaelic football and is similar to the men's game with a few minor rule changes. Other formats with teams of 7 to 11 players are played in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Argentina and South Africa utilising smaller soccer or rugby pitches.
Hurling is a stick and ball game played by teams of 15 on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end. The primary object is to score by driving the ball through the goals or putting the ball over the bar and thereby scoring a point. Three points is the equivalent of a goal. The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins. It is over three thousand years old, and is said to be the world's fastest field game, combining skills from lacrosse, field hockey, and baseball in a hard-hitting, highly skilled game. The female version of the game is known as camogie and is very similar to hurling with a few minor rule changes. Other formats with teams of 7 to 11 players are played in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Argentina and South Africa utilising smaller soccer or rugby pitches.
Gaelic handball is a game in which two players use their hands to return a ball against a wall. The game is similar to American handball. There are four codes of handball: Softball (also known as '60x30' or 'big alley' due to the playing court dimensions), 4-Wall (also known as '40x20' or 'small alley'), 1-Wall and Hardball (can also be known as '60x30'; played in the same court as Softball). 1-Wall handball is the most popular international version of handball, played in over 30 countries. The sport's governing body, GAA Handball, oversees and promotes the game in Ireland.
Rounders is a bat-and-ball game which is played in Ireland; a similar version is played in the UK. Rounders is organised by a subdivision of the GAA known as the Rounders Council of Ireland. It is similar to the American game softball.
Other Gaelic games
Other Gaelic games such as Gaelic athletics have nearly or completely died out. When founded the GAA organised a number of Gaelic athletics competitions but passed the responsibility to the National Athletic and Cycling Association in 1922. Tailteann Games with Gaelic athletics were held until 1932.
- ^ Moran, Mary (2011). A Game of Our Own: The History of Camogie. Dublin, Ireland: Cumann Camógaíochta. ISBN 978-1908591005.
- ^ "Infographic: The number of GAA clubs in every county in Ireland and every continent around the world". Joe.ie.
- ^ "'Give it a lash' – Ugandan GAA club takes off after co-founders inspired by YouTube highlights". Irish Independent. 16 November 2022.
- ^ "How two friends set up a GAA club in Uganda after seeing matches online". The Irish Times. 16 November 2022.
- ^ "Gaelic games remains Ireland's most popular sport". RTÉ Sport. 26 January 2021.
- ^ "GAA gate receipts up 13%, annual revenue up €5m and attendances increase by 24%". the42.ie. 31 January 2018.
- ^ "Primary School Curriculum: Physical Education" (PDF). Government of Ireland. 1999. p. 4. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
Gaelic games should be given particular consideration as part of the games programme.
- ^ "Football". GAA.ie. Archived from the original on 5 July 2014.
- ^ "Football for Ladies". GAA.ie. Archived from the original on 16 May 2014.
- ^ a b "Gaelic Games Europe | Gaelic Athletic Association". Gaelic Games Europe. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
- ^ "Hurling". GAA.ie. Archived from the original on 5 July 2014.
- ^ "Camogie". GAA.ie. Archived from the original on 1 June 2014.
- ^ "Handball". GAA.ie. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014.
- ^ "Rounders". GAA.ie. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014.
- ^ "Athletic Ireland". Retrieved 23 August 2012.
- Official website of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA)