Today is a bank holiday in Ireland. It`s one out of four days throughout the year during which banks are closed without any other reason than the bank holidays. This collective day off work does give me the opportunity to walk up to people and ask them: How do Irish people celebrate holidays?
Other people who stay in Ireland include the student population, who work during the summer. Sin?ad (20) is a student who has a summer job in a small bar selling juice. She tells me that many people from Limerick stay within the area or otherwise travel to Kilkee, again on the sea side. Adventurous people set off for Australia and South East Asia, while she herself considers going to the United States before graduating. As she tells me, students can easily obtain a J-1 working visa for the United States. Many students take advantage of this preferential treatment and go on a work and exploration tour to the US before finishing there studies.
`Irish people look for sunshine during their holidays`
Looking for sunshine
Bus driver Peter (47) tells me he has three weeks off in summer and one for winter. He does go to England, but not much further than that. To those who do wish to get further from home, the sun is the most important magnet. The favourite destination amongst the people I speak to is certainly Spain. Also Portugal, France and Turkey are mentioned as interesting destinations and I remarkably often hear the name `Europe` mentioned.
Flying is the easiest way out of Ireland and the expansion of the Ryan Air network has helped people get to a bigger variety of places. Philip (25) is thinking of leaving for Poland on one of these flights to enjoy a short holiday there. He reasons that Polish summers are hot and that it is cheap to get around once you`re there.
Leaving for winter sports is not too common. When people do, it`s mostly around Christmas time. Throughout the year, many young people pick a few days to go abroad with a specific purpose. Michelle (21, photo) visited a friend in Nancy (France) last month while Dominick (21) also went to France to join in on a music festival.
On average, Irish people have 20 to 25 days off work throughout the year. Bank holidays and public holidays come on top of that and the latter include New Year`s Day, Saint Patricks Day, Easter Monday, Christmas and Boxing Day.
With the incomes having risen over the last decades, and people having more free time to spend, it becomes easier and easier for the Irish explore the world beyond their green island. Direct flight connections help them get all over the place and the surrounding sea is no longer a barrier that`s only taken by emigrants set for America.
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