From dinner to dessert to the special Irish bread in hot cross buns, the traditional Irish Easter celebration is full of great recipes and fantastic Easter food. 

Apart from Christmas and St. Patrick's Day, Easter is the most important religious holiday in Ireland's calendar with traditional Irish dinner, blessings, recipes, greetings and even bread. The works!

Preparation for Easter Sunday in Ireland starts at the beginning of Lent and culminates with a gathering of family and friends and everyone's favorite food, usually chocolates or whatever other vice was given up for the Lenten period, is eaten.

Although many of the older traditions remain in place, some of them have not. Here's a look at some of the Easter traditions in Ireland, past and present. 

How is Easter celebrated in Ireland? 

A guide to celebrating a traditional Irish Easter

Apart from Christmas and St. Patrick's Day, Easter is the most important religious holiday in Ireland's calendar. Celebrate like the Irish! Read more here:

Posted by on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Before Easter

Clean house thoroughly inside and out - whitewash applied.

Get new clothes.

On Good Friday

Fast - this is the most serious day of fasting from the Lenten calendar. Some devout Catholics will not eat until midday and even then will only have a piece of bread and three sips of water, honoring the Holy Trinity.

Cut your hair to prevent headaches during the year and trim your fingers and toenails.

Take off your shoes when entering a Church.

Remain quiet from noon until 3 pm.

Visit holy wells and graveyards. All water from holy wells has curative properties on Good Friday.

Plant a few crop seeds to bring a blessing to all your crops.

A child born on Good Friday and baptized on Easter Sunday will have the gift of healing. It was thought that boys born and baptized on these days should enter the ministry. Those who die on Good Friday go straight to heaven.                    

Chicken's eggs laid on Good Friday are marked with a cross. Each member of the household eats one Easter Sunday. And chicks hatched on Good Friday will be healthy.

Easter Saturday

You must have holy water blessed. Drink three sips of the water for good luck and sprinkle everything for good luck.

Bring the cinders from the fire to be blessed.

During Lent, Catholics would abstain from any red meat eating only fish. On Easter Saturday a tradition developed of having a mock funeral for a herring.

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Easter Sunday

Gather your family and go to a hilltop to see the sunrise. Catholics believed that this is the Savior rising from his grave.

Alternatively, view the reflection of the sun in a bucket of water and then move it so the sun appears to dance.

Celebrate with eggs as a signifier of life. Either color them or give them as gifts.

Have a Cludog / Cluideog. This is a ritual where children collect the eggs and cook them with other food in a structure at the edge of the farm. Essentially it's roasted eggs.

Merrymakers dressed in brightly colored rags would go from place to place singing and dancing and demanding the eggs of Easter.

Have a feast with your family. Traditionally, leek soup and roast lamb were served.

Have a cake dance. The best dancer gets the prize of a cake.

What are the Irish Easter traditions in your house? Let us know in the comments section, below. 

* Originally published in 2013, updated in March 2024.