Public holidays in Ireland

Public holidays on the island of Ireland mean big celebrations, and some just offer a good excuse to chill out. Here's what you need to know

Public holidays 2013

New Year’s Day Tuesday 1 January 2013
Things are very quiet on New Year’s Day. Most shops and pubs will be closed and if pubs do open they may open later and close earlier than usual. Public transport does operate but under restrictions.

St Patrick's Day Public Holiday Sunday 17 March 2013
A party atmosphere grips Ireland on St Patrick's Day. When St Patrick's Day falls on a weekend (as with 2013), the following Monday is a public holiday. Expect pubs to be very busy. Shops close earlier than usual or stay closed, but in urban centres you're likely to find some outlets open. Public transport can be disrupted due to parades and as it’s a public holiday restricted services generally apply. Expect a degree of traffic disruption.

Good Friday Friday 29 March 2013
While Good Friday is not an official public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, schools and some businesses do close on that day and all pubs are shut. You are not permitted to buy alcohol on Good Friday in the Republic. Residents of hotels are permitted to drink in hotel bars. In Northern Ireland, pubs can only sell alcohol between the hours of 5pm – 11pm and off-licenses operate as normal, shops in smaller towns and villages will close but more and more businesses are remaining open in urban centres.

Easter Monday Monday 1 April 2013
Pubs and shops may open later and close earlier than usual or not open at all, in larger cities more places will be open than in smaller towns. Public transport can differ depending on where you are, but in most places a Sunday service runs, best to check ahead of time.

Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne Friday 12 July – Northern Ireland only
This is a public holiday in Northern Ireland only and most businesses will be closed, however, more and more places are remaining open in urban centres.

Republic of Ireland public holidays (Bank holidays)

Monday 6 May, Monday 3 June, Monday 5 August and Monday 28 October 2013
Banks will close everywhere for this day, shops and pubs in urban areas tend to stay open but things are quieter in smaller towns and villages. Public transport can operate under restricted schedules or run a Sunday service, it depends where you are in the country, best to check ahead of time.

Northern Ireland public holidays (Bank holidays)

Monday 6 May, Monday 27 May and Monday 26 August 2013
Banks will close everywhere for this day, shops and pubs in urban areas tend to stay open but things will be quieter in the smaller towns and villages. Public transport can operate under restricted schedules or run a Sunday service, it depends where you are in the country, best to check ahead of time.

Christmas Day Wednesday 25 December 2012
On Christmas Day pretty much everything is closed for business. Public transport does not operate but you might be able to book a taxi or hackney cab.

St Stephen's Day (Republic of Ireland) Boxing Day (Northern Ireland) Thursday 26 December 2012
In big cities, this is the unofficial start of the post-Christmas sales, but in smaller towns most shops still remain closed. Pubs are open and public transport operates under restricted schedules.