Northern Ireland

Irish/Ulster-Scots participation numbers fall

Irish dancers Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Just over a tenth of adults (11%) said they had participated in an Irish cultural activity in 2016/17

The number of people taking part in Irish and Ulster-Scots cultural activities has declined over the past five years.

That is according to figures released by the Department for Communities (DfC).

Just over 10% of adults said they had "engaged" with Ulster-Scots culture and heritage in 2016/17.

That compared to just over a fifth of adults who said they had engaged with Irish culture and heritage last year.

Both of those figures are down on previous surveys carried out in 2012/13 and 2014/15.

There has also been a decrease in the number of people actively participating in Irish and Ulster-Scots cultural activities.

Just over a tenth of adults (11%) said they had participated in an Irish cultural activity in 2016/17, down from 13% in 2014/15 and 16% in 2012/13.

The most popular were féiles, which focus on traditional Irish music and Irish dancing.

The figures indicate that 20% of Catholics said they had participated in an Irish cultural activity compared to 4% of Protestants.

One in five adults also said they had attended an Irish cultural event.

Image copyright Getty/JulieVMac
Image caption One in 10 Protestant adults said they had participated in Ulster-Scots activities compared to 2% of Catholics

When it came to Ulster-Scots activities, 6% of adults said they had participated in an Ulster-Scots parade, festival or music event.

One in 10 Protestant adults said they had participated in Ulster-Scots activities compared to 2% of Catholics.

Around a third of adults said they had a lot of respect for Ulster-Scots culture compared to around a quarter who said they had little or no respect for it.

Meanwhile, 44% of adults said they had a lot of respect for Irish culture while 15% had little or no respect.

The figures come from DfC's continuous household survey.

It is based on a representative sample of 3,262 people from Northern Ireland.

These statistics do not cover the knowledge or use of the Irish or Ulster-Scots language in Northern Ireland.