Here's one example of where the difference between rational numbers and irrational numbers matters. Consider a circle of circumference $1$ (in any units you choose), and suppose we have an ant (of infinitesimal size, of course) on the circle that moves forward by $f$ instantaneously once per second. Then the ant will return to its starting point if and only if $f$ is a rational number.
Maybe that was a little contrived. How about this instead? Consider an infinite square lattice with a chosen point $O$. Choose another point $P$ and draw the line segment $O P$. Pick an angle $\theta$ and draw a line $L$ starting from $O$ so that the angle between $L$ and $O P$ is $\theta$. Then, the line $L$ passes through a lattice point other than $O$ if and only if $\tan \theta$ is rational.
In general the difference between rational and irrational becomes most apparent when you have some kind of periodicity in space or time, as in the examples above.