St. Patrick's Day Holiday in Ireland in 2024

St. Patrick's Day Holiday in Ireland in 2024
St Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17th. Parades, activities, wearing green attire and shamrocks is all part of the celebrations. Image via Failte Ireland
  How long until St. Patrick's Day Holiday?
St. Patrick's Day Holiday
  Dates of St. Patrick's Day Holiday in Ireland
2025 Ireland Mon, Mar 17 Public Holiday (additional day)
2024 Ireland Sun, Mar 17 Public Holiday (additional day)
2023 Ireland Fri, Mar 17 Public Holiday
2022 Ireland Thu, Mar 17 Public Holiday
2021 Ireland Wed, Mar 17 Public 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

  Local name
Lá Fhéile Pádraig
  St. Patrick's Day Holiday in other countries
St. Patrick's Day Holiday internationally

When is St. Patrick's Day?

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th as a holiday in the Republic of Ireland and a bank holiday in Northern Ireland. If March 17th 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, Northern 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 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 the 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 March 17th in 461AD, apparently at the ripe old age of 122, according to the Annals of the Four Masters, a chronicle of medieval Irish history.

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 March 17th 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.

St. Patrick's Day Quiz

Get ready to test your knowledge of all things Irish and St. Patrick’s Day with our fun and challenging multiple choice quiz! From the history and traditions of this iconic holiday to the rich culture and heritage of Ireland, this quiz will put your smarts to the test. So grab a pint of Guinness and get started – can you score a perfect 10/10? It's time to go green! March 17th is St. Patrick's Day and a day to celebrate all things Irish. Why not test your knowledge of the Emerald Isle with our fun quiz?

Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day with your Hue lights!

As a public holiday in Ireland, banks and most businesses will be closed and public transport will operate on a reduced timetable.

A Day to Celebrate Ireland

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 Holiday

There are roughly 33 million U.S. residents of Irish ancestry. That number is nearly 9 times the population of Ireland.

The best day to find money on the streets of New York is 18 March: the day after St. Patrick's Day

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 Holiday

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