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General Comments on UK and IRL Holidays

Holidays and Observance
New Year's Day observed in UK + ROI
*Bank Holiday Scotland observed in Scotland
*Shrove Tuesday
*Ash Wednesday
*St.Valentine's Day observed in ROI
*St.David's Day observed in Wales
*St.Patrick's Day observed in ROI
Palm Sunday
*Good Friday
Easter UK + IRL, Sunday + Monday
*St.George's Day
May Day Holiday observed in UK + ROI
Spring Holiday observed in UK + ROI
*June Bank Holiday observed in ROI
*Bank Holiday "Twelfth"observed in NI
*Bank Holiday Sctl+IRL observed in Scotland and ROI
August Bank Holiday observed in UK except Scotland
*October Bank Holiday observed in ROI
*Remembrance Day
*St.Andrew's Day
Christmas Day observed in UK + ROI
Boxing Day observed in UK + ROI
ROI = Republic of Ireland; NI = State of Northern Ireland

Regional bank holidays and bank holidays not fairly generally observed are the ones marked * , and grayed in our calendars. The term bank holiday translates to holiday in other English speaking countries, in as much as business in general is meant to close shop.

Because the August Bank Holiday seems generally observed in the UK with the only exception of Scotland, we show the day colored steelblue in our calendars.

What does "observance" of a holiday mean?... Store opening hours have indeed been deregulated extensively and no rules govern them anymore. Most stores are closed on Sundays, except for some department stores open on Sunday. Nearly all stores are closed on Christmas day. Core business time for stores is usually 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

English roads can get to be busy about the time of holiday weekends, the more so the closer to London, a metropolitan area with 9 ... 10 million population. One can expect a popular desire to get out of the city, particularly so when the long Easter weekend is coming up after a dreary winter. Traffic patterns are then likely to extend all the way to Scotland. When so, beware the concentrated return rush to the great city on Easter Monday.

In Scotland, on the other hand, the country may seem as if emptying to the beaches, when sunny and warm on a holiday weekend, while the highlands might be chilly.

The "Twelfth" Bank Holiday in NI allows Orangemen to parade. It affects everyone, and most people's vacations (Brit. holidays) are based on the two weeks after it. On British calendars, the "Twelfth" is variously named, such as "Orangemen's Day."
History: Instituted in 1922, when the State of NI was founded, the holiday's heritage has been carried on by the Orange Order formed in the 19th century from the Peep o'Day Boys, who defended Protestant landholders in Armagh. Their hero was King William III (of Orange) and their sacret event the relatively unimportant Battle of the Boyne (1690), though the Battle of the Aughrim had been the event with historical significance.
In the ROI, the Twelfth is no public holiday and the Orangemen's parades take place on the Saturday following the 12th of July.

St Patrick's Day is not particularly celebrated in NI, where only banks are closed. There is a parade in Dublin, yet hardly anywhere else. Many descendants of Ulster people - Scots, usually - seem to celebrate the day, even though their Irish ancestors had probably not.
Our birdies tell us that such vain foreigners' fads as drinking green Guiness beer on St Patrick's, or claiming an Irish 15th cousin removed, tend to amuse (annoy?) almost all Irish people, who would rather suspect a lack of any true Irish connection there.

In our calendars, all holidays are being phased in in 1752, when the civil calendar has been adapted in Great Britain and its colonies. We make an exception for most bank holidays, Remembrance Day and the "Twefth," which are phased in in 1920, 1918, and 1922, respectively. No holidays are shown before their phase-in year.

Change to and from summer time: These two Sundays are marked peru brown in our calendars. Notice that for the spring date, the last Sunday in March is assumed to continue beyond 1997, which is yet uncertain as of this writing (20.10.97).

Enjoy the UK and Republic of Ireland
and travel safely!

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