Lá Fhéile Bríde (St Brigid’s Day) will be a new bank holiday to celebrate Irish women from 2023.
Green Party Minister Catherine Martin has welcomed today’s (Wednesday, January 19th, 2022) cabinet decision.
The Green Party has “long called” for a new bank holiday to mark Lá Fhéile Bríde. Before today’s move, there was no public holiday dedicated to a woman.
She said the decision for the new bank holiday addresses a key recommendation from the Tourism Recovery Taskforce.
Lá Fhéile Bríde also falls during the longest period of the year without a public holiday, between January 1st and March 17th.
New bank holiday
In a statement, Minister Martin said:
“Lá Fhéile Bríde is a day to celebrate Irish women – our stories, our passions, our innovations and our strengths.”
“Brigid was in many ways our first feminist, our first environmentalist and, of course, has deep associations with the Celtic festival Imbolc, which marks the first day of spring,”
“I am delighted we are finally giving Brigid her proper place in Ireland’s culture and celebrations.”
Minister Martin pointed out that Ireland is among the countries with the fewest public holidays in Europe and the world.
She said Lá Fhéile Bríde – which marks the coming of spring – will give people a “much-needed” day to “reflect and celebrate” nature, renewal and the importance of protecting our biodiversity and natural resources.
St Brigid, formerly the pre-Christian Earth Mother Goddess Brighid, is one of Ireland’s two patron saints, along with St Patrick.
The bank holiday will fall annually from 2023 on the closest Monday to February 1st – unless February 1st falls on a Friday.
In this case, the Friday will be a public holiday.
The government will add a one-off extra bank holiday this year on March 18th, 2022, to recognise the contribution workers made during the pandemic.