The pandemic has been tough. Obvs. So what we need now is a massive excuse for a party. Which brings us to Ireland, where the government really seem to get that. In fact, they’ve just announced a four-day weekend to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in 2022.
An extra bank holiday has been announced to thank people for their efforts during Covid. Workers won’t have to work either on St Patrick’s Day (March 17) – already a bank holiday – or the day after, March 18. That means Thursday to Sunday will be totally work-free. Plus, frontline healthcare workers will also be given a tax-free £800 bonus. That’s a lot to put behind the bar.
There’s more, too. The extra day off is set to become permanent, falling on St Brigid’s Day (February 1) from next year.
In a speech announcing the new holiday, Irish deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar said the government wanted ‘to remember those who lost their lives to Covid and to recognise all workers, volunteers and members of the general public who helped us in this fight against the pandemic, and especially frontline healthcare workers’.
National saint days aren’t all celebrated in the same way across the British Isles. St Andrew’s Day has been public holiday in Scotland since 2007, In Wales, St David’s Day isn’t currently a bank holiday – despite defiance from one council, which gives its workers a day off regardless. And St George’s Day isn’t a bank holiday in England, either. But perhaps, one day, if we’re lucky, that might all change?