These are the public holidays observed in Ireland.[1] Public holidays in Ireland (as in other countries) may commemorate a special day or other event, such as Saint Patrick's Day or Christmas Day. On public holidays (sometimes incorrectly referred to as bank holidays), most businesses and schools close. Other services, for example, public transport, still operate but often with reduced schedules.

The ten public holidays in Ireland each year are as follows:

Date English name Irish name Notes
1 January New Year's Day Lá Caille or
Lá Bliana Nua
Most also take time off work for New Year's Eve (Oíche Chinn Bliana).
1 February or
First Monday in February
Saint Brigid's Day Lá Fhéile Bríde or
Imbolc
From 2023 to be observed on 1 February if it is a Friday, or on the first Monday of February otherwise.[2] Corresponds with the traditional festival of Imbolc.
17 March Saint Patrick's Day Lá Fhéile Pádraig National day. Became an official public holiday in Ireland in 1903.[3]
Moveable Monday Easter Monday Luan Cásca The day after Easter Sunday (Domhnach Cásca). Also coincides with the commemoration of the Easter Rising. Good Friday (Aoine an Chéasta) is not a public holiday, though all state schools and some businesses close.
First Monday in May May Day[4] Lá Bealtaine First observed in 1994.[5] Corresponds with the traditional festival of Bealtaine.
First Monday in June June Holiday Lá Saoire i mí an Mheithimh Formerly observed as Whit Monday until 1973.[6]
First Monday in August August Holiday Lá Saoire i mí Lúnasa Corresponds with the traditional festival of Lúnasa.
Last Monday in October October Holiday Lá Saoire i mí Dheireadh Fómhair First observed in 1977.[7] Corresponds with Halloween and the traditional festival of Samhain.
25 December Christmas Day Lá Nollag Most start Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve (Oíche Nollag), including taking time off work.
26 December Saint Stephen's Day Lá Fhéile Stiofáin or
Lá an Dreoilín
The day after Christmas, celebrating the feast day of Saint Stephen. Lá an Dreoilín means Day of the Wren.

Where a public holiday falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, or possibly coincides with another public holiday, it is generally observed (as a day off work) on the next available weekday, even though the public holiday itself does not move. In such cases, an employee is entitled to at least one of the following (as chosen by the employer): a day off within a month, an additional day's paid annual leave or an additional day's pay. The usual practice is, however, to award a day off on the next available weekday.

History

The United Kingdom Bank Holidays Act 1871 established the first Bank holidays in Ireland. The act designated four Bank holidays in Ireland:

As Good Friday and Christmas Day were traditional days of rest and Christian worship (as were Sundays), therefore it was felt unnecessary to include them in the act as they were already recognised as common law holidays.[8]

In 1903, Saint Patrick's Day became an official public holiday in Ireland. This was due to the Bank Holiday (Ireland) Act 1903, an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament introduced by the Irish MP James O'Mara.[3]

In 1939, the Oireachtas passed the Holidays (Employees) Act 1939 which designated the public holidays as:[9]

The Holidays (Employees) Act 1973 replaced the Whit Monday holiday with the first Monday in June.[6] New Year's Day was not listed in the Act but was added by Statutory instrument in 1974.[10] The October Holiday was added in 1977.[7] The first Monday in May (commonly known as May Day) was added in 1993 and first observed in 1994.[5]

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, among other things, transposed European Union directives on working times into Irish law. Schedule 2 of the Act specifies the nine public holidays to which employees in Ireland are entitled to receive time off work, time in-lieu or holiday pay depending on the terms of their employment.[11]

In 2022 only, Friday 18 March was a public holiday, to recognise the efforts of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.[2]

From 2023, Imbolc/Saint Brigid's Day will be a public holiday, to mark both the saint's feast day and the seasonal festival.[2] It will be observed on the first Monday of February, or on 1 February if it falls on a Friday.[2] A government statement noted that it will be the first Irish public holiday named after a woman, and "means that all four of the traditional Celtic seasonal festivals will now be public holidays".[2]

Once-off public holidays

The power to introduce an additional public holiday is provided for in the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment may introduce a new public holiday by regulation. To date, three once-off public holidays have been introduced under the Act via Statutory Instrument. These were:

Date Occasion
31 December 1999 Special public holiday in recognition of the Millennium[12]
14 September 2001 National day of mourning for the victims of the September 11 attacks[13]
18 March 2022 Day of Remembrance and Recognition of people who lost their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic[14]

School holidays

Primary schools

Secondary schools

See also

References

  1. ^ Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973, Schedule (No. 25 of 1973, Schedule). Signed on 21 November 1973. Act of the Oireachtas. Irish Statute Book.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Government agrees Covid Recognition Payment and New Public Holiday". Gov.ie. Department of the Taoiseach. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  3. ^ a b "O'Mara". Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  4. ^ This holiday has no official title in Ireland, it is called the first Monday in May.
  5. ^ a b "S.I. No. 91/1993 – Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973 (Public Holiday) Regulations, 1993". Irish Statute Book. Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Holidays (Employees) Act, 1961". Irish Statute Book. Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  7. ^ a b "S.I. No. 193/1977 – Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973 (Public Holiday) Regulations, 1977". Irish Statute Book. Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  8. ^ "Bank Holiday Fact File" (PDF). TUC press release. 22 May 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  9. ^ Holidays (Employees) Act, 1939, s. 8 (No. 1 of 1939, s. 8). Signed on 17 February 1939. Act of the Oireachtas. Irish Statute Book.
  10. ^ Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973 (Public Holiday) Regulations, 1974 (S.I. No. 341 of 1974). Signed on 22 November 1974. Statutory Instrument of the Government of Ireland. Irish Statute Book.
  11. ^ Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 (No. 20 of 1997). Signed on 7 May 1997. Act of the Oireachtas. Irish Statute Book.
  12. ^ Organisation of Working Time (Public Holiday) Regulations, 1999 (S.I. No. 10 of 1999). Signed on 27 January 1999. Statutory Instrument of the Government of Ireland. Irish Statute Book.
  13. ^ Organisation of Working Time (National Day of Mourning) Regulations, 2001 (S.I. No. 419 of 2001). Signed on 12 September 2001. Statutory Instrument of the Government of Ireland. Irish Statute Book.
  14. ^ Organisation of Working Time (Covid-19 Commemoration) Regulations 2022 (S.I. No. 50 of 2022). Signed on 11 February 2022. Statutory Instrument of the Government of Ireland. Irish Statute Book.