It’s coming to the end of Lent so that means one thing- Easter Eggs. The shops are packed full of chocolate delights and everyone is preparing to stock up for a much needed binge. Easter has come really early this year and interestingly, it falls on April’s fool day. (I see some pranks coming on- who doesn’t want a melon instead of an Easter egg!!) The Easter tradition is strong in Ireland so I thought I’d tell you a bit about it in this week’s blog. There are a few random traditions, some old and some new. The Catholic church does not have quite the same pull on Ireland as it once did, but one thing we hope we never lose are all the holidays around Christian celebrations!
Let’s start with the religious element. Easter is obviously a religious holiday and that is at the core of it in Ireland too. Some Irish families still go to mass every Sunday, but more try and get there at some point over Easter (lots of people just enjoy the extra sleep ins, too!!) The Stations of the Cross are usually depicted in churches across the country and then there are big Easter celebration masses on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. It is also, as I mentioned, the end of Lent, so there are usually a few feasts being had.
One odd change this year is that it is now legal to buy alcohol on Good Friday. For years in Ireland it was illegal to sell alcohol on Good Friday. Bars would shut, liquor isles would be closed off and, if you wanted a drink, it had to be purchased before Good Friday and had in the comfort of your own home. People that were most shocked by this were usually Stag and Hen parties. They arrived to Ireland on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend to go out, just to realise there was nowhere they could go out to! It always gave us a bit of a laugh, but the ban has been lifted this year and so there’ll be no more sad stags and hens!
Drinking aside, the extra days off means that there is so so much going on around Ireland over Easter. The long weekend will be jam packed, but considering schools have 2 full weeks off, there will be events and festivals for the duration. I know that the majority of our students will not be in Ireland (let’s be honest, a few days off and Europe just across the pond.. of course you’ll leave!) but if you are around, check out this list on entertainment.ie, you’re bound to find something that will suit. Food, film and music festivals are all over the country and they’re always really well run and great fun. With Film Festival’s in Dingle and Viking Fests in Dublin, I think it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone.