Public holidays in the Republic of Ireland

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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 also referred to as bank holidays - a colloquialism), most businesses and schools close. Other services, for example, public transport, still operate but often with reduced schedules.

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

DateEnglish NameIrish NameNotes
1 January[2]New Year's DayLá Caille or
Lá Bliana Nua
Most also take time off work for New Year's Eve (Oíche Chinn Bliana).
17 March[2]Saint Patrick's DayLá Fhéile PádraigNational day. First became an official public holiday in Ireland in 1903.[3]
Moveable MondayEaster MondayLuan CáscaThe 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.
Moveable MondayMay Day[4]Lá BealtaineThe first Monday in May. First observed in 1994.[5]
Moveable MondayJune HolidayLá Saoire i mí MheitheamhThe first Monday in June. Previously observed as Whit Monday until 1973.[6]
Moveable MondayAugust HolidayLá Saoire i mí LúnasaThe first Monday in August.
Moveable MondayOctober HolidayLá Saoire i mí Dheireadh FómhairThe last Monday in October. (Lá Saoire Oíche Shamhna). First observed in 1977.[7]
25 December[2]Christmas DayLá NollagMost start Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve (Oíche Nollag), including taking time off work.
26 December[2]St. Stephen's DayLá Fhéile Stiofáin or Lá an DreoilínThe day after Christmas celebrating the feast day of Saint Stephen. Lá an Dreoilín translates as the Day of the Wren.


The United Kingdom Bank Holidays Act 1871 established the first Bank holidays in Ireland. The Act designated four Bank holidays in Ireland: Easter Monday; Whit Monday; St. Stephen's Day and the first Monday in August. 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 Christmas Day; St. Stephen's Day; St. Patrick's Day; Easter Monday; Whit Monday and the first Monday in August.[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]

In 1997 the Oireachtas passed the Organisation of Working Time Act. This Act, 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 their terms of employment.[11]

School holidays[edit]

Primary schools[edit]

Life in Ireland

Secondary schools[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973". Irish Statute Book. Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Note that 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.
  3. ^ a b "Humphry's Family Tree - James O'Mara". Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  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". TUC press release. 22 May 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "Holidays (Employees) Act, 1939". Irish Statute Book. Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  10. ^ "S.I. No. 341/1974 — Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973 (Public Holiday) Regulations, 1974". Irish Statute Book. Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "Organisation of Working Time Act 1997". Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 

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