Children across Ireland skip their way to good heart health

Skipathon events are taking place in schools nationwide in a bid to increase physical activity levels and raise money for the vital work of the Irish Heart Foundation

The Irish Heart Foundation has today as part of Active Schools Week launched its annual schools-based fundraising campaign, Skipathon, in a bid to raise funds and increase physical activity levels amongst school children. The campaign was launched by Evanne Ní Chuilinn, RTÉ News sports presenter and mum of two, who is encouraging schools to hold a Skipathon event as part of their Active School Week or any time throughout the school year. 

In existence for 35 years, Skipathon has long been a firm favourite for children in primary schools which allows them to take part in skipping games and challenges all while raising vital funds for the Irish Heart Foundation. Almost a third of Irish children are now overweight and in 2016 nine per cent of girls and ten per cent of boys in Ireland were classed as obese. A low level of physical activity is a significant risk factor associated with heart disease and stroke so the Irish Heart Foundation wants to inject some fun into the school day and Active School Week is an ideal time to get children skipping.

Speaking at the launch of Skipathon at St. Patrick’s Boys’ National School, Hollypark, Evanne Ní Chuilinn said: “Growing up, I loved getting involved in all types of physical activity; from gymnastics and camogie to swimming and tennis. I remember skipping as a child with my friends – it’s such a fun and accessible activity for children of all ages and a great way for them to get active. Skipathon is a fun way for kids to get out of the classroom and enjoy physical activity while learning how to make a difference and supporting the work done by the Irish Heart Foundation.”

Ruth Guy, Commercial Director at the Irish Heart Foundation said: “We are appealing to primary schools across Ireland to support Skipathon this year and raise vital funds for the Irish Heart Foundation. Skipping is a fun activity for children of all fitness levels. To ensure your Skipathon is a huge success, your packs include lesson plans, skipping ropes and activities and tips. Childhood obesity levels are increasing in Ireland and present a very real threat to children’s health and wellbeing. By holding a Skipathon during Active School Week or at any time during the year, you can encourage your pupils to get active and start learning healthy habits for life.’

Funds raised by schools through Skipathon will go towards the Irish Heart Foundation schools programmes including Y-Path ‘PE 4 ME’, Action for Life and Bizzy Breaks.

All participating schools receive a FREE Skipathon pack which includes a Skipathon brochure, sponsorship cards, lots of ideas on skipping games and of course skipping ropes. To register your school for Skipathon online, receive help and advice on how to organise a Skipathon and how to fundraise, visit or call Laura Quinn on 01 668 5001.


The Irish Heart Foundation is Ireland’s national charity fighting heart disease and stroke through advocacy, research, prevention, and care. For more information, visit

Skipathon is a fun, schools-based fundraising campaign established in 1984 that aims to raise funds through encouraging children to get active during a school day. The Irish Heart Foundation is asking schools to hold a Skipathon event where pupils take on a day of skipping games and skipping challenges all while raising vital funds.

Skipathon has a number of benefits for schools