March is one of the most interesting months to visit Ireland. It can offer some of the best things about visiting Ireland and some of the worst. I always find that this is the time of year that we get what most people think of as the truly “authentic” Irish experience.
March is the time when I actually like giving tours in Ireland the least! This is the month when the (in)famous Irish weather really starts to kick in and you can find yourself stuck out in the rain with no warning. However, I have also had some of my best guiding experiences this time of year.
The Pros and Cons of Visiting Ireland in March
If you choose to visit Ireland in the month of March, you should really come prepared for any eventuality. Weather wise, this is when we really start to see more than just 4 seasons in a day. The benefit of this is that some of these seasons are actually pleasant!
This means that March marks the true beginning of Spring in Ireland. You will see people start to enjoy the beautiful countryside with the longer days. Also, most importantly, St. Patrick’s Day is in March. If you want to visit Ireland during our national holiday, this is the time to come.
|St. Patrick’s Day||St. Patrick’s Day Prices and Crowds|
|Off-Peak Season||Changeable Weather|
|The Beginning of Spring||More Limited Opening Hours|
The Pros of Visiting Ireland in March
- St. Patrick’s Day: This is the national holiday of Ireland. If you have any Irish heritage, or even just an affinity for Ireland and its culture, I’m sure you’ve wanted to celebrate Paddy’s Day in Ireland itself. This is one of the busiest weeks of the year in Ireland and there will be plenty of things to see and do.
- Off-Peak Season: While the week of St. Patrick’s Day is usually very expensive, the rest of the month is a lot cheaper. I know you might not get the chance to see the parade in Dublin. But if you want to see the country on a budget, March is a great time to do it.
- The Beginning of Spring: Traditionally, Spring begins in February in Ireland. But realistically, its March when you really notice all of the changes. This is when flowers will bloom and the countryside will start getting over the winter.
The Cons of Visiting Ireland in March
- St. Patrick’s Day Prices and Crowds: I know that Paddy’s day is popular all over the world. But in Ireland, many people avoid major towns and cities because of the crowds of people that flock in. The prices of everything from hotels to drinks will shoot up for this week.
- The Changeable Weather: Ireland is famous all over the world for its less than lovely weather. I know that most people expect this. The issue is that March is one of the most unpredictable months in the year when it comes to the weather. You can find all seasons multiple times of day, with lots of rain of course!
- Limited Opening Hours: You probably won’t find much of an issue finding things open the week of Paddy’s Day. But on the day itself, many places will limit their opening hours. Also, March is not really in the high season, so other periods of this month might still have limited options for activities, especially outside of Dublin.
The Weather in Ireland in March
The weather in Ireland in March is mild, with average temperatures ranging from 7°C to 12°C (44°F to 54°F). However, it can be quite unpredictable, so it is important to pack for all types of weather.
March is also one of the rainiest months of the year. You will probably need some raingear for your trip to Ireland anyway, but particularly if you come in March. Also, this is one of the most notorious months of the year for storms in Ireland. Make sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast!
This is the time of year when you will start to see longer days. So if you want to explore the Irish countryside and see a little more of Ireland as a whole, this is one of the earlier times of the year when you can really do that.
What to Pack for Ireland in March
If you do any research on what to pack for Ireland, one of the pieces of advice you will hear most often is to layer up! This is for a reason. If you come to Ireland at any time of the year, expect to find weather that is very inconsistent.
March is notorious for inconsistent and rainy weather. So make sure to pack a few extra layers and maybe some extra pairs of dry socks and underwear – just in case you get caught out in that lovely, authentic rain!
You might also need to pack for the sun too. I am writing this article in March, having been giving tours outside for most of the last couple of weeks. I have been soaked to the bone and have also gotten sunburn on consecutive days. Prepare for any eventuality this time of year!
I have a more comprehensive guide on what to pack for your trip to Ireland, linked here. It has more detailed information on what you will need for your trip to Ireland and what you should remember to bring.
Events in Ireland in March
The beginning of spring has plenty of festivals and events in countries all over the world and Ireland is no exception. If you want to visit Ireland in March, here are some of the best things to look out for while you’re here:
St Patrick’s Day Festival
This is the big one. One of the most famous national holidays anywhere in the world, there are people who celebrate Paddy’s Day all over the globe who have no connection to Ireland whatsoever. While this tradition used to be a solemn religious occasion in Ireland, things have changed.
Today, the St. Patrick’s Day festival lasts all week and its one of the busiest times in the year for the Irish hospitality and tourism industries. Also, members of the Irish government and business communities will travel all over the world to promote Ireland in other countries.
If you want to celebrate Ireland’s national holiday in the center of Dublin with all the crowds or if you want to leave the city and go to a smaller, local festival, there will be something for everyone.
This traditional Irish music festival takes place every year in the beautiful, medieval town of Kilkenny. If you want to experience some authentic Irish culture, then this is for you. Kilkenny itself is an amazing place to visit, especially with Irish music wafting through the streets.
Irish traditional music will usually involve a number of musicians playing instruments together in jam sessions. These often take place in local pubs (or “public houses”). So once the official events and gigs are finished, there should be plenty of places to catch some music around town.
Dublin Bay Prawn Festival
I love the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival. It is a great way for both locals and visitors to experience some of the best of our seafood. In Ireland we generally don’t really enjoy as much of our excellent seafood as we should, but there is so much to experience.
If you visit the prawn festival, you might have to spend plenty of time waiting in line, but the wait will be worth it!
Where to Go in Ireland in March
Ireland always has plenty of experiences to offer visitors, no matter the time of year or part of the country. But there are some places that you should try to see while here in March.
The capital city of Ireland is a great place to spend any amount of time. While I am totally biased, being from here and guiding tours of the city, I’m definitely right! Dublin has so much to offer people year-round.
The main St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country will be held here. While it might be crowded, its popular for a reason. This is one of the biggest festivals in Ireland during the year and, while not for everyone, you should definitely at least consider seeing it.
If you visit Dublin for the rest of the month, there will of course still be plenty to see and do. This is the month when many of the attractions will start to open for their high-season hours.
Visiting Dublin in March (not Paddy’s week though), is possibly one of the best places to go in Europe on a spur of the moment trip away. There will be plenty to see and do and you will leave the fair city wanting to come back and see the rest.
This is one of the best places in Ireland to visit if you want to explore the Irish countryside. This small town is regarded as the capital of Irish tourism and is one of the best bases from which to see the Ring of Kerry.
If you choose to visit Killarney, you will find plenty of great places to eat, lots of pubs and other places to explore. But the best thing about this town is how easily accessible the countryside is from it.
The Ring of Kerry is one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland. You can spend a couple of days exploring it if you’d like, but most people will be able to do the full loop in about a day. On the ring, you will be able to see national parks, wildlife and parts of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Galway is one of the most interesting places in Ireland. This bohemian city is located on the west coast of Ireland and is regarded as a sort of mecca for all of the artists, musicians and poets in Ireland.
This is always a good place to visit. But by visiting Galway in March, you might be able to see a more authentic St. Paddy’s Day experience for cheaper than you would in Dublin.
The city is also home to some of the best restaurants in Ireland as well as pubs. Galway is a great destination for any foodie looking to experience the best modern Irish cuisine.
FAQs of Ireland in March
Here are some frequently asked questions about visiting Ireland during the month of March:
Is it necessary to rent a car in Ireland in March?
It depends on your travel plans. If you plan on exploring the countryside or smaller towns, then renting a car may be necessary. However, if you plan on sticking to the major cities, public transportation is a viable option.
What are some indoor activities to do in Ireland in March?
Ireland has numerous museums, galleries, and historical sites that are perfect for indoor activities. I recommend checking out the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol Museum, and the National Gallery of Ireland.
What are some outdoor activities to do in Ireland in March?
Ireland has many beautiful parks and gardens that are perfect for outdoor activities in March. I recommend visiting the Phoenix Park, St. Stephen’s Green, and the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. You can also go on hikes in the countryside or take a scenic drive along the Wild Atlantic Way.