The sixth Irish Sports Monitor report covering the months May to October 2015 provides Sport Ireland with a means of accurately monitoring and tracking active and social participation in sport among adults in Ireland.

Key Findings Include:

  • Excluding recreational walking, approximately 1.7 million Irish adults aged 16+ regularly participate in sport and exercise 
  • Exercise, running, swimming, cycling and soccer are the five most popular sporting activities among adults
  • Running and cycling continue to show upward participation trends
  • Recreational walking remains the most popular activity, with more than two in three adults taking part at least once in the previous seven days
  • The numbers walking and cycling for transport increased since 2013
  • One in three adults are meeting the National Physical Activity Guidelines through sport and recreational walking and the proportion that is sedentary declined from 11.4% to 10.8% since 2013.
  • Almost half of the adult population are involved in some form of social participation in sport through volunteering, club membership and attendance at events

Minister Ring commented: "The Irish Sports Monitor mid–year report for 2015 shows that large numbers of people are continuing to participate in sport regularly, with approx. 1.7 million people doing so every week. Although there is a slight decline in participation since the 2013 report, the numbers remain strong. According to the report, 1 in 3 adults are meeting the National Physical Activity Guidelines. I hope that we will see this figure increase in future reports through the actions identified in the recently published National Physical Activity Plan.  I am delighted to see that the report also shows strong levels of social participation in sport through volunteering, club membership and attendance at sporting events with the overall levels of social participation at 48.6%. Social participation in sport is very important, not just in terms of supporting sport and sporting organisations but also in maintaining the social fabric in Irish communities.”   

Outside of sport participation, the numbers taking part in recreational walking, walking for transport and cycling for transport are all strong. As a result of this activity, the proportion of adults meeting the National Physical Activity Guidelines has increased while the numbers who are sedentary has declined. Individual sporting activities dominate adult participation, with the top four being: exercise, running, swimming and cycling.

John Treacy, Chief Executive Sport Ireland commented “This report shows that the level of sedentarism continues to decline and the latest figure of 10.8% is the lowest since the Irish Sports Monitor was initiated in 2007. However we cannot afford to be complacent. Following a number of years where we have seen increasing levels of involvement in sport, the current report has identified a slight decline in participation from 2013. Understanding the factors behind this decline will be important in allowing us to focus attention on specific groups that may be reducing their activity level.”

Kieran O' Leary, Research Director at Ipsos MRBI commented "The Irish Sports Monitor continues to demonstrate the significant role of sport in Irish society with 1.7 million people actively playing sport each week, and a similar number having another role through volunteering, attending an event or being a member of a club. However, differences exist across the population and challenges remain in increasing sports participation, particularly amongst females, older age groups and those not in paid employment”.

Notes to the Editor:

The Irish Sports Monitor (ISM) is a survey of participation in sport and physical exercise in Ireland, which began in 2007 and continued throughout 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015. Based on regular interviews with adults aged 16 and over, the ISM is primarily designed to track levels of participation in sport and recreational exercise, both for the population as a whole and various subpopulations of interest. The ISM also captures information on social participation in sport through volunteering, club membership and attendance at sporting events. To achieve sufficient accuracy, it employs large annual samples. The current 6 month report is based on 4,292 respondents in 2015 and 4,959 for the same period in 2013. 


Full report can be found here:




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