St. Patrick's Day in Ireland in 2020

St. Patrick's Day in Ireland in 2020
  How long until St. Patrick's Day?
This holiday next takes place in 180 days.
  Dates of St. Patrick's Day in Ireland
2021 Ireland Wed, Mar 17 Not A Public Holiday (additional day)
2020 Ireland Tue, Mar 17 Bank Holiday
2019 Mar 17, Mar 18
IrelandMon, Mar 18Not A Public Holiday (additional day)
IrelandSun, Mar 17Bank Holiday (in lieu)
2018 Ireland Mon, Mar 19 Bank Holiday
2017 Ireland Fri, Mar 17 Bank Holiday
St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is a widely known historic figure. But for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery
  St. Patrick's Day in other countries
St. Patrick's Day internationally

When is St. Patrick's Day?

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on 17th March as a holiday in the Republic of Ireland and a bank holiday in Northern Ireland. If 17th March falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be a holiday in Northern Ireland.

History of St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is a widely known historical figure and arguably the most famous patron saint of a country.

Despite this level of fame, we know surprisingly few details about his life. Interestingly he's not the only recognised patron saint of Ireland, both 'Brigid of Kildare' and 'Columba' are officially recognised as such.

Also, St Patrick is a patron saint of Nigeria, Montserrat, and Engineers.

The tiny island of Montserrat, known as "Emerald Island of the Caribbean" due to its foundation by Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis, is the only place in the world apart from the Republic of Ireland and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador in which St Patrick's Day is a public holiday.

It is generally accepted that St. Patrick was born in Northern England or Southern Scotland to wealthy parents around 385AD. His original name was probably Maewyn Succat. He later adopted Patricius as his Christian/Roman name, which became widely known as Patrick.

While he was only sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner after a band of raiders from Ireland had attacked his family's estate in Wales. They took him back him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity as a slave. It is said that it was at this time, while he was working as a shepherd on Slemish mountain that he became a devout Christian.

He eventually escaped from his slavery to Gaul (in modern-day France) where he studied for twelve years in the monastery under St. Germain, the bishop of Auxerre. It was during this period of training that Patrick realised his calling in life was to become a  missionary and convert pagans to Christianity.

After his training, he wanted to return to Ireland, to convert the native pagans there to Christianity. But he had to bide his time as St. Palladius was ordained by Pope Celestine and sent to Ireland as their first bishop. It was over two years later when Palladius was transferred to Scotland, that Patrick was appointed as second bishop to Ireland.

Patrick proved himself to be quite adept at winning converts to Christianity. So much so, that he upset the local Celtic Druids. In fact, he was arrested on several occasions but managed to escape each time. He journeyed extensively across Ireland, establishing monasteries in several locations. In addition, he also set up churches and schools, all of which created the foundations for the whole of Ireland to eventually be converted to Christianity.

His missionary work in Ireland continued for thirty years. After that, Patrick retired to County Down in North Eastern Ireland. Patrick died on 17 March in 461AD.

He was canonised by the local church, as was the practice at the time, thus his elevation to sainthood was never formally granted by a Pope; however, he is in the church's official List of Saints. The day became a feast day due to lobbying by the Irish-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding in the early part of the 17th century,  though it soon evolved into more of a secular holiday.

Much Irish folklore surrounds St. Patrick's Day, Some of this lore includes Patrick healing the sick, and raising the dead.

He is said to have given a sermon from a hilltop that drove all the snakes from Ireland. No snakes are know to have existed in Ireland at least since the end of the ice age. Some scholars think the driving away of the snakes may have been a metaphor for the conversion of the pagans.

A more plausible story attributed to Patrick is how he used the Shamrock, a three-leaved clover, to explain the Trinity. In his sermons he would use it to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could be separate elements of the same entity.

Today, St. Patrick's Day is a day to recognise Irish heritage and celebrated by people of all backgrounds in many parts of the world, such as the United States, Canada, and Australia. Although these are the main overseas populations, St. Patrick's Day is also celebrated in other locations as far flung from Ireland as Japan, Singapore, and Russia.

St. Patrick's Day became an official public holiday in Ireland in 1903 with the passing of the Bank Holiday (Ireland) Act 1903, which was introduced by Irish MP James O'Mara.

In 1927, O'Mara introduced the law that banned the sale of alcohol on St. Patrick's Day to prevent drinking on a religious holiday. The law was changed in 1961 to permit legal drinking, but only at the Royal Dublin Society Dog show. It wasn't until the 1970's that the law was fully repealed.

It was first publicly celebrated in the United States of America in Boston in 1737. Surprisingly, the first recorded St. Patrick's Day parade didn't actually take place in Ireland, when on 17 March 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.

The global spread of the holiday was partly due to the Great Potato Famine of 1845 which forced over a million of the Irish population to emigrate.

Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day with your Hue lights!

St. Patrick's Day on a weekend

If St. Patrick's Day falls on either a Saturday or Sunday, employees do not have any automatic legal entitlement to have the next working day off work. If the day falls on a day you normally have off, you are still entitled to a benefit for that public holiday. That can be the Monday after a holiday, but an employer can give you a different day off. 

This creates the odd situation where we can't show the following Monday as a public holiday, even though many employers will give it as a day in lieu. Note that there is no confusion when it comes to banks, whose holidays do pass to the following Monday.

More information about Public Holiday Pay in Ireland

Did you know?

Three facts about St. Patrick's Day

The largest St. Patrick's Day Parade is not held in Ireland. That honor belongs to New York City, where the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade draws more than a million spectators each year.

St. Patrick's Day is a national holiday in the Caribbean nation of Montserrat.

It is said that on any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness are drank around the world. But on St. Patrick's Day, the number more than doubles to 13 million pints.

More facts about St. Patrick's Day

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