'Brigid's Fire' by Courtney Davis, one of the St Brigid's Day artworks illuminated for the Herstory Light Festival by Dodeca.

12,000 sign petition to hold new bank holiday on St Brigid's Day

With a date for the planned additional bank holiday in Ireland still to be announced, a campaign to hold it on St Brigid's Day (February 1) has been gathering momentum.

The 'Herstory' movement, which has been lighting up landmarks and sacred sights to mark St Brigid's Day since 2017, is calling for the day to be made a bank holiday.

A petition in support of this campaign has now been signed by over 12,000 people.

The Government recently indicated that an additional bank holiday would be introduced in recognition of the sacrifices made by people during the pandemic.

Last week, Fine Gael suggested that a Thanksgiving bank holiday could be introduced on November 29, but Tanaiste and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar said this week that his own personal preference was for a date in February or March.

"One option is the St Brigid’s Day period – there is a big gap between January 1st and St Patrick's Day in terms of holidays," Mr Varadkar told Newstalk.

"The other possibility is a kind of a four-day one over the St Patrick's Day weekend and that would be, if you like, the second anniversary of the pandemic in many ways."

The Herstory movement, which tells the stories of modern, historic and mythic women said its campaign in support of the St Brigid's Day option was being backed by a number of public figures including Joe Duffy, Marion Keyes, Imelda May, Tara Flynn, Senator David Norris, TDs Ivana Bacik and Josepha Madigan, and MEPs Frances Fitzgerald and Maria Walsh.

In a press release issued today (Wednesday), Herstory said February 1 was the ancient Celtic Festival of Imbolc, celebrating the first day of Spring.

It was also known as the feast of the pre-Christian Celtic Goddess Brigid, one of the founding goddesses of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

"Brigid is synonymous with healing and this is the perfect date to honour the victims and heroes of the pandemic," said the group.

The Government is expected to announce the date chosen for the new bank holiday on October 12.