Preparedness to adapt to the impacts of climate change was assessed for three important sectors of activity within the Irish coastal and marine environment, namely tourism, fisheries, and conservation of biodiversity. Information on the current status of each sector is a valuable point of reference in terms of accessing contribution to the implementation of future national adaptation efforts. A modified version of the National Adaptive Capacity (NAC) framework developed by the World Resources Institute was used to assess the three sectors of activity. This framework is structured around five functions: assessment, prioritisation, coordination, information management, and climate risk reduction; results of the assessment suggest that all three sectors are at the nascent stages of the climate change adaptation process. Currently there is no dedicated national policy guidance or legal support mechanism on adaptation in Ireland; hence there is no national financial commitment to support implementation of adaptation actions for any of the sectors assessed. Subjecting these three selected sectors of activity to such an assessment enables identification of existing actions that can potentially support current adaptation, as well as where issues such as knowledge gaps and lack of policy support hinder progress. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.