Minister Catherine Martin.

New bank holiday will celebrate Irish women on Lá Fhéile Bríde

Green Party Minister Catherine Martin has welcomed today’s cabinet decision to make Lá Fhéile Bríde (Brigid’s Day) a public holiday from 2023.

The Green Party has long called for a new bank holiday to mark Lá Fhéile Bríde, as there is currently no public holiday dedicated to a woman.

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’m delighted we are finally giving Brigid her proper place in Ireland’s culture and celebrations.”

The decision for the new bank holiday addresses a recommendation from the Tourism Recovery Taskforce for an additional bank holiday in the off-peak season.

Lá Fhéile Bríde also falls during the longest period of the year without a public holiday, between January 1 and March 17.

Minister Martin added: “Ireland is among the countries with the fewest public holidays in Europe and the world - Lá Fhéile Bríde marks the coming of spring and will give people a 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 1 - unless February 1 falls on a Friday in which case the Friday will be a public holiday.

A one-off extra bank holiday will be added this year on March 18, 2022, in recognition of the contribution that workers made during the pandemic.