Easter in Ireland is the perfect time to visit the beautiful emerald island just as spring is arriving. There are many reasons why Easter is a firm favourite with Irish people. It signifies the start of spring & hopefully the appearance of sunshine after a cold winter. It’s also the first official bank holiday of the year. Offering up a time to relax, enjoy time with friends & of course eat as much chocolate as possible.
This year Easter in Ireland takes place over from the 20th – 22nd of April. Hopefully, a traditional Easter celebration in Ireland will be accompanied by the gorgeous spring weather.
While you’re celebrating Easter in Ireland we are here to provide you with a guide to everything you should know; from traditional Irish celebrations, events & activities taking place.
Easter in Ireland – Irish Traditions
After St.Patricks day, Easter in Ireland is one of the most important religious dates for the Irish people. Although Easter celebrations are pretty similar around the world, Ireland does have their own unique traditions.
Irish people begin the Easter period on the first day of lent, usually forty days before Easter Sunday. For a lot of Irish people, Easter is a time of fasting or giving up luxuries such as their favourite food/drinks.
During the 40 days of lent fish is a firm favourite meal that is usually eaten every Friday. Most importantly Easter in Ireland is a time of reflection, self-discipline and a time to be thankful.
The most important time in lent is the last week which is a fasting period beginning with Palm Sunday, a week before Holy Week.
A Typical Easter in Ireland
Many Irish will start to prepare for Easter Sunday a few days before by what would better be known as a “spring cleaning”. Some Irish homes will welcome the local priest to their house for a blessing. This is an Irish tradition that dates back hundreds of years.
Good Friday – The Beginning of Easter in Ireland
From Good Friday it’s the beginning of things winding down in Ireland, many people will not work this day. It’s thought of as a day of rest and if you are visiting you’ll notice many bars and restaurants stop serving alcohol at certain times & most places close early.
Other Good Friday traditions in Ireland include going to confessions. Also, many people will get their hair cut and shop for new clothes to wear on Easter Sunday mass.
Another Easter tradition in Ireland is that no eggs should be eaten throughout the duration of Lent. Of course on Easter Sunday this is the end of lent and many will have bought chocolate eggs to enjoy. There was a tradition of painting and decorating eggs but this has long been replaced with popular chocolate eggs. Mainly parents would buy eggs for children in the family, with around five million eggs sold each year in Ireland.
Then we have Holy Saturday a day where some Irish people will take a vow of silence whilst also attending a special ceremony. At this ceremony, people will get their Holy Water blessed.
There is also an Easter Vigil at 10pm at some churches which are usually decorated in the colours of Easter. At the end of the vigil, all lights in the church are put out by 11 pm then a new flame will be presented to the altar of the church. This is a symbol of the Risen Christ and the celebration of the Holy Flame.
Then we reach the most important day of Lent, Easter Sunday and in many Irish homes, it’s similar to a normal Sunday or religious day.
As I’ve briefly mentioned its a day for families to be together, dressed in their new outfits and attend mass at their local church. After Easter Sunday mass people make their way home to prepare for Easter Dinner – usually a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings.
This is also the time when children will be given their chocolate Easter eggs to enjoy. Many families will do their own Easter egg hunt or attend local activities or events.
Activities and Events – Easter in Ireland
Now time for the fun part if you’re planning to visit Belfast or Dublin or places near over the Easter period we have found all the best events for you to enjoy while you are here.
All schools in Ireland will be out for the Easter break so you can assume the place will be busy with families.
Easter in Bangor, Belfast
Just 30 minutes outside of Belfast & you will arrive in Bangor and on the 20th of April they will be holding a fun Easter event. At their Easter event, they will bring to life some popular storybook characters. Some of the activities you can enjoy there include children’s workshops, boat tours, an appearance from the Easter Bunny as well as storytelling, puppet shows and more.
Surf Camp in Portrush
If you’re looking for something fun and different to do this Easter in Ireland, head to Portrush for a kids surfing camp that is suitable for five to sixteen years old. The surf camp runs from the 15 April – 25 April 2019. (two camps)
At the surf camp, children will learn how to surf, learn about water safety and just have lots of good old fashion fun. Also, everything is included from the wetsuits, boards, changing room to even a hot chocolate afterwards. (Price £70)
Easter Eggspress Stream Train, Belfast
If your little ones love trains or even yourself then this will be a real treat, hop on the steam train at Belfast central station and enjoy the experience. There will be a surprise visit from the Easter Bunny and each child will receive an Easter egg.
If you wish to travel on the special Easter train you’ll need to purchase a ticket, each ticket cost £15 pound! There will also be light refreshments and a bar onboard the train.
Easter Petting Zoo, Belfast
Head to the Mac Theatre in Belfast on the 22nd and 23rd of April to enjoy some animal cuteness as their petting zoo. There will be many adorable animals including chicks, lambs, bunnies where you can cuddle, feed and stroke the friendly farm animals. And it’s super cheap at only £2 pound per person.
Sunday lunch at the Titanic Hotel, Belfast
If you don’t fancy cooking on Easter Sunday (April 21st) they why not head to the Titanic Hotel to enjoy a delicious Sunday spread. Perfect if you’re visiting and are looking for somewhere to head on the day.
The Titanic Hotel will offer an amazing buffet selection featuring some classic Irish dishes used with the best of local ingredients. There will also be entertainment provided for both adults and children to enjoy. As well as many surprises on the day organised by the Titanic Hotel.
Gin Festival, Belfast
An Easter activity for adults who enjoy Gin, Belfast Bar Doyen are welcoming back the popular NI Gin Festival this Easter. The festival is taking place on Saturday the 20th of April in two sessions one from 2 pm – 6 pm and 7 pm to 11 pm.
At this Gin Festival, you’ll be able to try over 50 worldwide gins perfectly served up by gin experts. There will also be Gin cocktails, Gin creators, Live music, small tasting plates all for £20 pound.
An Easter Craft Workshop, EPIC Museum, Dublin
Are you in Dublin this Easter? Well, they have plenty of activities and events celebrating Easter taking place around the city. Head to the Irish Emigration Museum to explore Irish legend of Puca and a series of fun activities.
The workshop is inspired by the Irish storytelling culture and the Easter tradition of displaying colourful eggs around the house. At the Easter workshop, you’ll get to create your own friendly egg themed characters to take home. This event takes place on Saturday the 20th of April.
Easter Egg Hunt, Manor Hotel, Dublin
Who doesn’t love an Easter Egg hunt, you’ll find lots of them happening around the city. Visit the Manor Hall on Easter Sunday for their fun egg hunt from 12 pm to 3 pm in their beautiful Victorian Walled Garden. In order to take part in the free event, you must register for tickets.
Easter Weekend Celebrations, The Plaza Hotel, Dublin
If you’re searching for one place to spend the whole day on Easter Sunday then why not spend at the Plaza Hotel. They will provide you with a variety of exciting entertainment, surprises and activities for both young and old. This is a ticketed event which cost £25 per adult and £10 per child including a buffet meal.
Click here to find out more about the Easter events taking place in Dublin this year, you’ll be to find something that looks interesting to you.
Also, click here to find out more about the Easter events taking place in Belfast and Northern Ireland.
Easter in Ireland is a great time to visit the country, everyone is in the holiday spirit and there’s always something to do in the big cities. Let us know about your Easter plans in Ireland and what you’re looking forward to the most 🙂
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