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St Brigid’s Day and Public Holidays

In Ireland, February 1st marks the beginning of spring and the celebration of Lá Fhéile Bríde, St Brigid’s Day. The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 sets out clearly how Public Holidays are managed and here is a quick summary for your reference:

1. Most employees are entitled to paid leave on public holidays. One exception is part-time employees who have not worked for their employer at least 40 hours in total in the 5 weeks before the public holiday.

2. Employees who qualify for public holiday benefit will be entitled to one of the following:

  • A paid day off on the public holiday
  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day’s pay
  • A paid day off within a month of the public holiday

3. If you work part-time and you have worked for your employer at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks before the public holiday and the public holiday falls on a day you normally work you are entitled to a day’s pay for the public holiday.

4. If you are required to work that day you are entitled to an additional day’s pay.

5. If you do not normally work on that particular day you should receive one-fifth of your weekly pay. Even if you may never be rostered to work on a public holiday you are entitled to one-fifth of your weekly pay as compensation for the public holiday.

6. If you do not have normal daily or weekly working hours, under SI 475/1997, an average of your day’s pay or the fifth of your weekly pay is calculated over the 13 weeks you worked before the public holiday.

In all of the above situations, your employer may choose to give you paid time off instead of pay for the public holiday.

So, now that we are coming up to another public holiday in a few days, here’s just a little bit of information to what Saint Brigid’s Day is all about.

A fifth-century saint, a mythical pagan goddess – Brigid is many things to many people.

To some, she’s St Brigid of Kildare, founder of Ireland’s first convent, lauded for her cross of rushes, her healing wells and sacred flames, and of course, her miraculous cloak. To others, she’s a triple-gifted pagan goddess of healing, fire and poetry and a potent symbol of feminine power.

In Gaelic tradition, St Brigid’s Day was the first day of Spring, also known as Imbolg or Imbolc. Imbolg – a word which likely comes from the phrase ‘i mbolg’ (meaning ‘in the belly’ in Irish, referring to the Spring lambs that are about to be born).

The Celtic Goddess Bríd was regarded as a goddess of healing and the ancient Celts acknowledged her on this day as the day that signaled renewal, new growth, and escape from darkness.

In Ireland, February 1st marks the beginning of spring and the celebration of Lá Fhéile Bríde, St Brigid’s Day. The day has long symbolized hope, renewal and the feminine.

Since 2018, Irish Embassies and Consulates across the world have been marking the day by celebrating the creativity of women, through a broad programme of events.

From Washington to Warsaw, Sydney to Santiago, London to Lilongwe, Ireland’s diplomatic network, in partnership with local communities is celebrating the remarkable contribution women have made – and continue to make – across the world.

 Relic of St Brigid returns to home town after 1,000 years

A relic of Saint Brigid has returned to her home town after around 1,000 years away. Hundreds of people gathered in Kildare on Sunday 28th January for a special church service to mark the historic occasion. The homecoming event, which also featured a procession, was held on what is believed to be the 1,500th anniversary year of St Brigid’s death.

Whatever Brigid means to you, there are a lot of events taking place around the country, and in her home county of Kildare, across St Brigid’s Day (February 1st) and the bank holiday weekend (February 3rd-5th).

Read what the poet Paula Meehan, the World Champion boxer Lisa O’Rourke and a number of other Irish women who are trailblazers in their fields for their thoughts say about St Brigid’s Day.

Happy St Brigid’s Day / Lá Fhéile Bríde from everyone at Voltedge Management. Contact us at or 01 525 2914 if you have any questions regarding HR issues.

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