Ireland Month by Month: A Year of Events

  • 01 of 12

    January

    A frost-covered landscape
    ••• Bernd Biege

    This list of activities and events to enjoy in Ireland starts with January and makes its way, month-by-month through to December. This listing focuses on those events that come up every year, but many new traditions are started each year and there are always one-off celebrations or festivals to check out.

    It's always a good idea to check on what will be going on in the areas you will be visiting as well as using this list as a general guide.

    Public Holidays

    Special Days

    • First Monday in January: Handsel Monday (rarely observed, and mainly a regional feast anyway).
    • January 6th: Epiphany, Old Christmas or the "Women's Christmas", also known as "Little Christmas".
    • January 25th: Burns Night...MORE (mainly an Ulster-Scots celebration).

    Regular Events

    • The Temple Bar Tradfest is usually held towards the end of January in Dublin.
    • Chinese New Year may be celebrated in January, a special public event is usually taking place around that date in Dublin.
    Continue to 2 of 12 below.
  • 02 of 12

    February

    Bronze statue of St Brigid
    ••• Bernd Biege

    February may be full of special days, but there are no public holidays this month. 

    Special Days

    • February 1st: Saint Brigid's Day.
    • February 1st: Imbolc (the Pagan feast—superseded by Saint Brigid's Day for most).
    • February 1st also traditionally marks the beginning of spring in Ireland, though the local temperatures would not have you assuming that in many cases.
    • February 14th: Saint Valentine's Day (the saint's relics are actually kept in the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin).
    • Both Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) and Ash Wednesday (marking the beginning of lent) may fall into February.

    Regular Events

    • The Jameson Dublin Film Festival is usually held in February in Dublin.
    • Chinese New Year may be celebrated in February, a special public event is usually taking place around that date in Dublin.
    Continue to 3 of 12 below.
  • 03 of 12

    March

    Friends toasting to St Patrick at a pub in Dublin Ireland
    ••• Getty Images / Oktay Ortakcioglu

    There is one big public holiday this month: Saint Patrick's Day, March 17th (celebrated in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland). Should Saint Patrick's Day fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday will be a holiday in lieu. Celebrations will, however, still take place on the proper date.

    Other Public Holidays

    • Good Friday may be celebrated in March, but this is a public holiday in Northern Ireland only.
    • Easter Monday may also be celebrated in March, this is a public holiday both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Special Days

    • March 17th: Saint Patrick's Day.
    • Around March 21st, the Spring Equinox occurs—with alignments at the megalithic sites of Loughcrew and (possibly) Knowth.
    • Both Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) and Ash Wednesday (marking the beginning of lent) may fall into March.
    • If Easter Sunday falls into March, the celebrations in commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising are usually (and more than likely on the wrong date) held on this day,...MORE especially in Dublin.

    Regular Events

    • Basically, it is all about Saint Patrick, with little room for anything else except Easter.
    Continue to 4 of 12 below.
  • 04 of 12

    April

    Daffodil in full bloom
    ••• Bernd Biege

    If Easter Sunday occurs in April, the celebrations in commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising are usually held on Easter Suday, especially in Dublin.

    Public Holidays

    • Good Friday may be celebrated in April, this is a public holiday in Northern Ireland only.
    • Easter Monday may also be celebrated in April, this is a public holiday both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Special Days

    Regular Events

    • Dublin regularly asserts its place in the world of literature with the One City One Book festival during April
    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    May

    Surfer in a thick wetsuit braves frigid Irish waves
    ••• Bernd Biege

    Spring is here, so be sure to enjoy more of the outdoors as temperatures start to warm up. Check out these other special events specific to May:

    Public Holidays

    • First Monday in May: Spring Bank Holiday (Republic of Ireland only).
    • Last Monday in May: Spring Bank Holiday (Northern Ireland only).

    Special Days

    Regular Events

    • The Fleadh Nua music festival takes over the streets and pubs of Ennis, County Clare.
    Continue to 6 of 12 below.
  • 06 of 12

    June

    James Joyce statue in Dublin, Ireland
    ••• Bernd Biege

    June is famous in Ireland for being the month of honoring James Joyce. If you're in Ireland in June, be sure to attend the Bloomsday celebrations in Dublin.

    Public Holidays

    • First Monday in June: June Bank Holiday (Republic of Ireland only).

    Special Days

    • June 16th: Bloomsday in Dublin to honour James Joyce, fans go wild, the general public is less enthusiatic, but any excuse for a drink.

    Regular Events

    Continue to 7 of 12 below.
  • 07 of 12

    July

    "Marching Season"participants relax in a grassy field
    ••• Bernd Biege

    Summer is in full swing, so get out and enjoy the weather while checking out some of the local events.

    Public Holidays

    Special Days

    Regular Events

    • The Orange Order Parade at Rossnowlagh, County Donegal, takes place on the Saturday just before July 12th: the only such parade in the Republic of Ireland, a very civilised and peaceful event.
    Continue to 8 of 12 below.
  • 08 of 12

    August

    A family visiting a church in Ireland
    ••• Bernd Biege

    Check out some of the special events that take place in late summer, such as the Dublin Horse Show and the Puck Fair.

    Public Holidays

    • First Monday in August: Summer Bank Holiday (Republic of Ireland only).
    • Last Monday in August: Summer Bank Holiday (Northern Ireland only).

    Special Days

    • August 10th to 12th: Puck Fair in Killorglin, County Kerry, one of Ireland's oldest traditional events.
    • August 15th: Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary, a Catholic Day of Obligation and celebrated with special masses throughout the island. It is especially busy at the Marian Shrine in Knock (County Mayo).

    Regular Events

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    September

    Men play in a rugby game
    ••• Bernd Biege

    There are no public holidays this month, but you can enjoy some of the harvest-themed festivals that start to show up in September, like the National Ploughing Championships.

    Special Days

    • The All Ireland Hurling Finals are held in Dublin's Croke Park on the first Sunday in September, expect large crowds in the city.
    • The All Ireland Football Finals are also held in Croke Park, but on the third Sunday in September. Again, expect large crowds in the city.
    • Around September 21st, the Autumn Equinox occurs—with alignments at the megalithic site of Loughcrew.

    Regular Events

    Continue to 10 of 12 below.
  • 10 of 12

    October

    Runners in the Dublin Marathon
    ••• Bernd Biege

    Check to see when Irish Harvest Festivals will take place, as they vary by the community.

    Public Holidays

    • Last Monday in October: Bank Holiday (Republic of Ireland only).

    Special Days

    • October 31st: Samhain (starts at sundown)
    • October 31st: Halloween (the American import that almost replaced Samhain)

    Regular Events

    Continue to 11 of 12 below.
  • 11 of 12

    November

    A flock of geese entering a body of water
    ••• Bernd Biege

    There are no public holidays in Ireland in November, but be sure to check out the special days on the calendar and note when local Harvest Festivals will take place.

    Special Days

    • November 5th: Guy Fawkes Night (rarely celebrated even in Unionist communities in Northern Ireland).
    • Remembrance Sunday is held on the Sunday nearest to November 11th - mainly in Northern Ireland, where the war effort is more a cause for remembrance.
    • November 11th: Saint Martin's Day or Martinmas, an almost forgotten celebration, which spells the end for many a goose.
    • The first Advent Sunday may fall in late November, heralding Christmas.

    Regular Events

    • All the main churches in Ireland (Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian) would celebrate Thanksgiving (or rather Harvest Festivals) in October and November, the exact timing is down to the local community.
    Continue to 12 of 12 below.
  • 12 of 12

    December

    Belfast decorated for Christmas
    ••• Bernd Biege

    Of course, in a Christian country, the big event in December is Christmas.

    Public Holidays

    • December 25th: Christmas Day.
    • December 26th: Saint Stephen's Day or Boxing Day.

    Special Days

    • December 6th: Saint Nicholas' Day (rarely observed in Ireland today).
    • December 8th: Traditional shopping day for the rural population, everybody heads into town.
    • Around December 21st: Winter Solstice (a Pagan feast, especially famous is the Newgrange solar alignment - which might be modern).
    • December 26th: Known in Irish folklore as Wren Day and may see groups of mummers out and about.
    • December 31st: New Year's Eve.

    Regular Events

    • December 26th: The post-Christmas sales start (mainly in Dublin), avoid the inner cities!
    • December 27th: The post-Christmas sales start everywhere, see above!