Ireland will celebrate our newest bank holiday from 3 – 5 February, dedicated to honouring St. Brigid’s Day
Last year saw the very first St Brigid’s Day Bank Holiday and if you didn’t do anything to mark the occasion last year, this is your chance to remedy that situation.
The upcoming bank holiday is not just a day off; it’s a golden opportunity for everyone to shake off the January blues and immerse themselves in the magic of Ireland on a memorable short break. Whether it’s family-friendly trips, budget-friendly excursions, or thrilling outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy during this first long weekend of the new year.
Reconnect with nature
Spending time outdoors in spring is linked to improved mood, increased energy levels, and a better sense of well-being. To put your stamp on the new year, why not challenge yourself to climb some of Ireland’s hills or mountains? Sliabh Liag in Co Donegal is a brilliant way to become acquainted with nature in 2024.
Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with outstanding views of the Wild Atlantic Way across Donegal Bay as far as Benbulben in Co Sligo. Alternatively, you could base yourself in Donegal town – less than an hour’s drive from the cliffs – where you’ll find accommodation and plenty of cosy spots to refuel.
On your bike
Did you get a new bike for Christmas? If so, experience a vibrant and adventurous spring break by exploring some of Ireland’s breath-taking greenways. On the Wild Atlantic Way, The Kingdom of Kerry Greenways offer two wonderful greenway routes that are perfect for beginners and cycling pros alike. The Tralee to Fenit route is a 13.6km track through the countryside and along the shore of Tralee Bay with stunning views of Fenit Bay and Mount Brandon. The Listowel to Limerick route is a 16km route along the northern slopes of the River Feale through lush countryside and fern-adorned tunnels to the Limerick border.
For something a little different, the Velorail in Co Mayo is a novel way to enjoy a cycling excursion. It involves the running of pedal-powered carriages on a closed railway line through the rolling local countryside of Kiltimagh in north Co Mayo. This route is encapsulated by Wild Atlantic Way woodlands, wildlife and flora.
For adventure at your own pace, the Royal Canal Greenway is the perfect route for cyclists of all abilities. Starting in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, the greenway meanders through towns such as Cloondara, Longford, Mullingar and finishes up in Maynooth in Ireland’s Ancient East – it’s the perfect route to enjoy at your leisure while weaving in and out of towns for a bite to eat along the way.
Indulge in self-care
February is a great month to focus on self-care. The days are starting to get brighter and our energy levels are getting stronger, so planning a revitalising short break to refresh mind, body, and soul is a must before your calendar starts to fill up. Reconnect with yourself in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands at Lough Allen’s Outdoor Spa and Wellness Centre where self-care takes centre stage. Here, you’ll enjoy hot tubs, saunas and a cold plunge pool, as well as many rejuvenating experiences such as yoga, breathing and sound bath sessions.
Alternatively, you can meander along the Wild Atlantic Way to the Shannon Estuary Way Retreat where a bank holiday break filled with wholesome relaxation awaits. Offering a range of blissful experiences such as reflexology, sound baths and singing bowls, as well as a mixture of yoga sessions for all abilities, this getaway has it all.
Discover our cultural landmarks
St Brigid’s Bank Holiday is also the perfect time to explore some of the country’s most magnificent stately homes and grand estates without stretching the budget. Many of these historic houses are set against a backdrop of lush greenery and extensive gardens.
Located in the cornerstone of Ireland’s Ancient East, Johnstown Castle offers a truly magical experience and insight into the chequered and intriguing story of the history and families who lived here. Take a tour of the castle with its beautifully arched windows, stunning sculptures and winding towers, and explore the gardens with over 5kms of lake walks.
Alternatively, venture west and incorporate a visit to Kylemore Abbey, nestled in the heart of Connemara, on the Wild Atlantic Way. Home to a Benedictine order of nuns for the past 100 years, Kylemore Abbey welcomes visitors from all over the world each year to embrace the magic of the magnificent 1,000-acre estate. As well as the fabulous abbey experience, there are also beautiful woodland and lakeshore walks, a cafe offering delicious food and a craft and design shop to browse.
Seize the long weekend
A bank holiday weekend in Ireland is incomplete without a visit to its shores to enjoy the fresh sea air and stunning scenery. A city by the sea, the Dublin Coastal trail has everything from stunning views, sandy beaches, ancient castles, delicious diners and cosy hotels. Running from Skerries north of the city, down to Killiney in the south, the route is connected by the DART and easily accessible by bus and bike.
Skerries is home to a range of beautiful coastal walks with paths that loop around the headland of Red Island and connect its North and South beaches. Both beaches are perfect locations for a refreshing winter walk or to stop and admire the views with a hot cuppa in hand.
For those that fancy the Amalfi coast in the wintertime but prefer to stay closer to home, Dalkey is a perfect addition to any St Brigid’s Day bank holiday weekend itinerary. Renowned for great dining options, the restaurants and cosy pubs there are enjoyed by locals and A-listers alike. Try The Grapevine or Thyme Out for a spot of lunch and 1909 Restaurant & Wine Bar, Ragazzi or The Coliemore for a sumptuous bite in the evening.
To plan your February Bank Holiday adventure, visit discoverireland.ie.