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An Irish Easter
Apart from St. Patrick’s day, Easter is one of the most important dates in the Irish calendar. It’s the time when people celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and when families and friends meet to honour Irish Easter traditions and enjoy eating Easter chocolate eggs.
Preparations for Easter usually start on the first day of Lent when many in Ireland stop eating meat and choose to stop something that they really cherish – a favourite food, chocolate, wine, beer or even their favourite TV Soap. This period of ‘doing without’ ends with Easter Sunday when people attend mass and then make their way home to have a traditional Irish meal and Easter treats. After the meal the children are presented with their Easter Eggs but they’re only meant for those kids who’ve not broken their Lenten fast and have finished all their Easter dinner! As we all know there are too many temptations these days so parents are usually willing to bend the rules a little.
The Irish celebrate Easter in much the same way as in most other western countries. It’s an Easter bank holiday, there’s lots of lovely Easter Eggs and the Easter Bunny makes its special visit to Ireland. But, unlike some other places, you’ll find that on Good Friday everywhere is closed - the banks, schools, businesses and even the pubs! Today, many people still choose not to eat meat on Good Friday but many of the older traditions have been let go, things such as going barefoot on Good Friday, fasting until midday, not burning wood or slaughtering animals are not surprisingly no longer adhered to. But come Easter Sunday, everyone is out celebrating. The pubs open, towns and villages hold processions or events and Easter is a traditional time for fairs and horse racing.
With the celebrations and the changing Spring weather Easter is a great time to visit Ireland. There are all the modern day trimmings Easter but Ireland’s heritage and culture make this a special time - you’ll be caught up in the Easter experience. And as it’ll be the Irish school holidays as well there will be plenty to do for the kids.
Things to see and do at Easter
Music is central to celebrating and making the most of leisure time in Ireland and music at Easter is no exception. There are many music festivals throughout the towns and villages, some of which have grown into international events. You could attend the Feis Doire Cholmcille in Derry City. Running from 25th – 28 April the annual Feis is North West Ireland’s largest celebration of Irish musical culture. The Feile Oriel in Monaghan Town runs from 29th Apr – 2nd May. You could join the hundreds of musicians and artists that will descend on the town for this 42nd Feile Oriel. Or if jazz is more your scene, take a trip to Derry and join in the atmosphere of Northern Irelands largest jazz festival. Top class jazz musicians will play and eclectic mix of music from 28th April to 1st May.
Easter is a great time for kids of all sizes and there’s lots to do over the holiday period. Meet the Easter Bunny at Waterford Suir Valley Railway from 23rd – 30th April. This heritage railway runs 12 km along the old Waterford to Dungarvan railway and from Easter Saturday to May Day the Easter Bunny will be at Kilmeadan Station to greet you. And you can meet Pinkie the Easter Bunny at Westport House and Pirate Adventure Park on 24th April. And afterwards you’ll be able to visit the beautiful 18th century Westport House or have a fantastic time on the Pirate Park rides and activities.
The Feile na bPaisti, or Childrens festival is a kids paradise. Running from 24th and 25th April at Kilcar there’s loads of activities and fun for children. There’ll be bouncy castles, face painting, an art competition, X-Factor Competition, hip hop dancing, disco, games and much more. On Easter Sunday the events take place in Áislann Chill Chartha and on Easter Monday in the parish hall.
More for the adults is the traditional Easter sporting event – horse racing. Try the Easter races 23rd - 25th April at Mallow. There’s 3 great days of racing and lots of family activities with craic agus ceol in Mallow Town.
The Easter weekend is more many a great opportunity to get out of doors and go for a good walk. Ireland is a wonderful place for walking whether you’re an afternoon stroller or a hardened hiker. There are a number of walking festivals around the Easter holiday. The annual Sleive Bloom Walking Festival runs from 29th April to 3rd May and is located in and around Kinnitty. Slieve Bloom is famous for its walking countryside with hills, rivers and waterfalls. Or there is the Ballyhoura International Walking Festival 29th April to 3rd May. The Ballyhoura country covers a number of counties - Limerick, Tipperary and Cork – and is an area of rolling green pastures, woodlands and hills. A walkers paradise.
We think Ireland is the place to be at Easter – but why not see for yourself. Take a look at where to stay and what to do at Imagine Ireland – specialists in accommodation in Ireland. Or check out availability at Easter Holiday Cottages.
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