Bank holidays in Ireland: when they are and things to know

After a year of disrupted holiday plans and travel bans, you may be keen to learn about 2021’s bank holidays in Ireland, so you can start planning your next adventure.

Many say 2020 was a bust – a year defined by a global pandemic with restrictions all-round, and the travel and hospitality sectors taking a knock. But, with the promise of a new year on the horizon, we are eager for all it has in store.

Perhaps it is time to start planning that much-needed break! And, there’s no better way to maximise your time off work than by making use of bank holidays in Ireland. Here is all you need to know, from when they are to top tips.

Overview – all you need to know

All you need to know.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool

A bank holiday (or public holiday) is the cherry on top of the cake of an otherwise usual workweek. These are days in which public services, such as banks, are closed.

For many, it means a shorter week of working, and given that bank holidays – or public holidays – usually fall on a Monday, they are a great way to make the most of a weekend adventure, without using up your holiday days.

While the concept of a bank holiday was only founded in 1871 by banker-turned-politician, Sir John Lubbock, the first Lord Avebury, today they are a highlight of the annual calendar, and more so, an excellent reason for a getaway!

Read on to learn about what dates are bank holidays in Ireland during 2021, as well as some fun suggestions for how to spend these days.

When are the bank holidays in Ireland? – a list of important dates

New Year's Day is one of the bank holidays in Ireland.
Credit: Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

There are nine public holidays or bank holidays in Ireland during 2021. These fall on the following dates:

New Year’s Day: Fri, 1 Jan 2021

St. Patrick’s Day: Wed, 17 Mar 2021

Easter Monday: Mon, 5 Apr 2021

May Bank Holiday: Mon, 3 May 2021

June Bank Holiday: Mon, 7 Jun 2021

August Bank Holiday: Mon, 2 Aug 2021

October Bank Holiday: Mon, 25 Oct 2021

Christmas Day: Mon, 27 Dec 2021

St. Stephen’s Day: Mon, 27 Dec 2021

What to do – what’s on

Easter in Ireland.
Credit: pixabay.com / @LMoonlight

New Year’s Day bank holiday

For this bank holiday in Ireland, we suggest you snuggle up with a good book in front of a fire with a cup of hot chocolate.

St. Patrick’s Day bank holiday

During the St. Patrick’s Day public holiday, we pray that some resemblance of festivities will have resumed.

Given that we get the green light for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, we suggest you experience Dublin’s parade and revel alongside pub patrons in Dublin’s Temple Bar for the ultimate cliche ‘Irish’ experience.

Easter Monday bank holiday

This bank holiday weekend is a great opportunity to pack your bags and get away for some time with the family. April is a great month to make the most of off-peak rates, while the weather is become balmier by the day.

Brigit’s Garden in County Galway is an enchanting experience at any time of the year. However, its annual Easter egg hunts are bound to be an unforgettable experience.

May bank holiday

Make the most of the May bank holiday before Summer kicks in. Rates for accommodation and activities will soon soar, so this is a fabulous weekend to enjoy a mini-break.

We suggest somewhere dreamy, like Wicklow (aka the ‘Garden of Ireland’) or Kerry (aka ‘The Kingdom’).

June bank holiday

Over the June bank holiday, there’ll be tonnes to do on the Emerald Isle.

Some of the years best festivals are scheduled this weekend including Forbidden Fruit in Dublin, and Open Ear on Skerkin Island, off the coast of Cork, and we suggest you buy tickets early to secure your spot!

August Bank Holiday

The August bank holiday in Ireland is another weekend that’s jam-packed with events. Festivals including All Together Now, Beat Yard, and Indiependence take place this weekend and are sure to be sell-outs.

October Bank Holiday

For the Cork bank holiday, we suggest you head down to Cork for the Jazz Festival. This is one of Ireland’s most popular music events and is sure to offer quality vibes in some epic old-school and contemporary venues around Cork.

Christmas Day

Christmas day bank holiday in Ireland: tea, presents, prosecco, and too much food. Enough said!

St. Stephen’s Day

For some, this is the ultimate day to snag some bargains, as the January sales open to all. For others, it’s a crime to spend it anywhere but in front of the fire. We’ll leave that one up to you.

Things to know – what to be aware of

Shops often remain open on bank holidays in Ireland.
Credit: Dublin Regional Tourism Authority

Although banks and many public sector institutions will be closed on a bank holiday, many retail businesses and commercial companies will remain open. Always check with a business directly should you be hoping to make use of them on a bank holiday.

Bank holiday rates for accommodation are usually higher than other days of the week and year and are often fully booked well in advance. Plan ahead to get in on all the fun!

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