COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Ireland/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation  

8.2.1 Trends and figures

The most recent comprehensive study on public participation in the arts was published in late 2006, updating the last comprehensive survey which took place in 1994. The Public and the Arts 2006 found that Irish people generally had very positive attitudes to the arts, in particular the importance of the arts in education, the value of investment in the arts generally and in arts amenities, the role of the arts in society and the importance of exposure to the arts from different cultures in an increasingly multi-cultural Ireland. The top priority for people in terms of arts spending was for spending targeted at children and young people, followed by local, amateur and community-based arts and programmes aimed at areas of social disadvantage. Overall attendance and participation levels between 1994 and 2006 were shown to be similar. While no comprehensive fine-grained study has been conducted since 2006, Arts Audiences, using resources of the Target Group Index for Ireland, publishes information which quantifies arts attendances and provides some demographic and marketing information on arts attenders. Arts Audiences (http://artsaudiences.ie) is an initiative of the Arts Council and Temple Bar Cultural Trust which seeks to initiate and support audience-focused thinking in the arts. They have found that 57% (2 million) of the adult population are arts attenders of which 1.5 million attend once p.a. or more often.  This corresponds with earlier data (2010). Highest attendance is at plays. (The surveys do not encompass film attendance.) Attendance has generally held steady through the recession though there is a suggestion that young people's attendance does not correspond to their numbers in the population. Information is provided on gender, social class and age profile of attenders as well as their regional distribution.. (http://artsaudiences.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Arts-Attendance-in-Ireland-2012.pdf).

Table 11:   Trends in attendance at the National cultural Institutions, 2006-2012

Cultural Institutions

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

National Archives

16 390

16 070

17 694

18 200

15 242

13 907

13 652

National Library of Ireland

109 623

103 362

136 509

138 809

185 591

206 342

181 152

National Museum of Ireland, Archaeology and History

368 842

407 202

380 547

370 965

366 201

402 582

409 275

National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts and History

245 291

374 347

296 101

313 790

258 822

295 488

271 309

National Museum of Ireland Natural History*

153 905

108 615

n/a

n/a

253 597

289 172

290 927

National Museum of Ireland Museum of Country Life

100 967

113 430

112 195

98 523

114 343

108 785

99 682

National Gallery of Ireland

749 696

740 407

742 332

782 469

736 855

624 412

660 486

Irish Museum of Modern Art

450 941

485 530

457 611

417 706

418 977

362 955

63 642**

National Concert Hall

320 390

328 330

337 520

342 568

318 667

293 639

322 222

Chester Beatty Library

230 299

252 175

226 543

218 338

206 653

247 729

255 704

Crawford Art Gallery

n/a

208 901

175 159

167 485

188 823

188 131

190 217

Source:     http://www.ahg.gov.ie/en/Culture/CulturalInstitutions/ accessed on October 29, 2014.
*                 The National Museum of Natural History was closed from July 2007 until April 2010.
**              The Irish Museum of Modern Art was relocated from the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham to Earlsfort Terrace for renovation from November 2011 until October 2013.

No information is available on the participation of national minority groups or immigrant groups in Irish cultural life, nor on audience composition at multi-cultural festivals.  Nor is there information on private expenditure on cultural participation and consumption.


Chapter published: 10-06-2015

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