Ireland in March: trip planning guide

Ireland in March: what’s it really like? First-hand info on the weather in March in Ireland, tips on what to pack, the best places to see and what you need to know about St Patrick’s day celebrations.

March is a tempting month for traveling to Ireland.

Spring starts in the Emerald Isle on the first of the month and the biggest National celebration of all, St Patrick’s Day, happens on the 17th of the month too, with its promise of cheer and fun for all involved.

If you are planning on visiting Ireland in March, however, you are likely to have some questions.

Sure, spring officially starts now. But what is the weather in Ireland in March really like?

And what is St Patrick’s day in Ireland like do I want to be there or is it just too crowded and messy?

I have been living in Dublin for almost 15 years so, today, I put this experience to good use and created this article with all my best answers!

I hope it will help you plan your trip to Ireland and helo you decide if March is in Ireland is right for you!

March 2020 need to know For official info on the Corona Virus in Ireland, please refer to official info by the Health Service Executive here

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Is March a good month to visit Ireland?

Before I go into more detail about what to expect in Ireland in March, I want to say that yes, I believe March is a lovely time to visit Ireland.

In March, the days start to get longer, meaning you have a decent amount of daylight for sightseeing, the temperature tends to get milder (with exceptions, see below our section about the weather) and overall the crowds are thin, the big exception being the long weekend around St Patrick’s day.

March in Ireland is good especially for:

  • City sightseeing
  • Castle visits
  • Short excursions
  • Romantic break/hotel stays
  • St Patrick’s day parades and celebrations

March is a slightly less good month to visit Ireland if you are looking for a very sporty, outdoorsy time.

The weather at this time can be lovely but can also play tricks on you so, if you come mostly for the outdoors, you may need to stay flexible.

Come in the second half of the month for the best chance of bright, dry days.

March in Ireland: important dates

The main date you need to be aware of if traveling to Ireland in March is St Patrick’s Day, the 17th of March.

St Patrick’s day is a national holiday and many people travel to Ireland for it, something that can have an impact on the cost of your flight, hotels and on the availability of rooms.

If planning a trip around St Patrick’s day, advance booking of hotels is paramount.

I recommend making your booking on Booking.com as they tend to have great cancellation options should booking far in advance make you nervous.

What is the weather like in Ireland in March?

The weather in March in Ireland is a crazy beast with no rhyme, reason or discernible pattern of behavior, so I am tackling this topic on two fronts: the official info and my personal experience.

According to official data, March is the start of spring in Ireland.

The average temperature is 7C /45F degrees and we get about 24 days of rain per month, so overall, we get mild-to-cold and usually rainy days this time of the year.

Based on experience, however, I can tell you, the average temperature only tells you so much.

Irish weather in March is so changeable, you can get mild and really bright days and really grey and awful ones.

The best way to tackle planning and packing for Ireland in March is staying flexible: layers and a mix of indoor and outdoor plans are a must.

What to pack for Ireland in March

Considering the above, my must-have travel essentials for traveling to Ireland in March are:

  • Waterproof shoes: walking shoes and boots are perfect both for the outdoor and the city.
  • Warm socks/tights if bringing skirts or dresses
  • Long trousers/pants (jeans work well)
  • Thermal top layer if planning on extensive outdoor activities ort coming from a warm climate
  • Long sleeve tops
  • Warm cardigan or sweater
  • Rain resistant winter coat/scarf, hat, gloves
  • A nicer outfit if planning on staying in a castle hotel or resort
  • All your standard toiletries + extra lip balm and hydrating cream to combat the cold
  • A travel adapter for Ireland
  • Extra Battery Pack for the phone
  • All travel documents and prescriptions

Good to know: Ireland in March tend to be very windy so you don’t need to bother with an umbrella, it would most likely break! Instead, make sure your coat has a hood. If you opt for an umbrella anyway, make sure it is as wind-resistant as possible and hold it close to your head!

The best places to visit in Ireland in March

March is a good time to visit pretty much all Ireland’s most famous places however, there are my favorites.

Dublin City

Dublin has a lot to offer to visitors in March.

The city has a myriad of museums and restaurants and a good place to spend a weekend or to use as your first stop on an Ireland itinerary.

Things not to miss in Dublin include:

Good to know: The Dublin Pass included most attractions in Dublin and can be convenient if you ate planning on extensive sightseeing.

Glendalough Monastic site

Located less than an hour south of Dublin, Glendalough is one of my favorite places in the whole of Ireland and a lovely one to visit in March.

Glendalough in late winter / early spring

The site dates back to medieval times and the moody March weather makes it super atmospheric, against the backdrop of the lake and the beautiful Wicklow mountains!

Make sure you take the walk around the lake and stip and the on-site hotel restaurant for a bowl of soup too.

Good to know: Several companies offer organized day trips from Dublin to Glendalough, so you don’t have the stress of driving should you prefer not to. Find info and prices here.

Cork City and Blarney Castle

March is also a great time to visit Cork City, the lovely town of Cobh and nearby Blarney Castle.

Cork City is a fun and dynamic place, full of nice pubs and restaurants to soak in the St Patrick’s Day festivities and Blarney castle is one of the best attractions in the whole of Ireland.

The castle is surrounded by large gardens and while more peasant on a dry day, it is very atmospheric on a rainy too!

Good to know: Blarney is very well served by tour companies (Look here) and it is easy to reach even if you are in Ireland without a car.

If you are spending the night in Cork, I recommend your stat at the River Lee hotel: we recently stayed with the kids and grandparents and all 3 generations liked it!

Blarney castle
Blarney Castle is stunning and worth a visit not just for its famous eponymous stone. Its grounds are beautiful and accessible

The cliffs of Moher and the Burren

I have thought long and hard about including the Cliffs of Moher on a March trip because let’s be honest: it can fo wither way!

On a good day, the cliffs are stunning at this time and you will have them almost entirely for yourself, the busy season not starting until April.

However, on a bad day the cliffs can be awful and in case of a weather warning even dangerous: so my advice is: add them to your trip but do take an eye on the weather and only go if safe to do so!

Many day tours to this area are available form Galway and Dublin: find them all here.

Newgrange and the Boyne Valley

Newgrange is one of the most peculiar and unique sites in the whole of Ireland and this notoriety comes at a cost: crowds!

In summer, at the peak of the tourism season, visiting is hard but in March it is easier!

Please note that tours of the tomb are suspended in 2020.

Book in advance to avoid disappointment.

the prehistoric monument of Knowth in the Boyne valley Ireland
Detail of the complex of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth

Best things to do in Ireland in March

Cozy up in a romantic hotel

March weather is the perfect excuse for a stay in one of Ireland’s many romantic hotels.

Some of our favorites are Dromoland Castle, Waterford Castle and the amazing Brooklodge Hotel in Wicklow (not a castle but oh so romantic! See our Brooklodge review here).

Treat the kids to a stay in a family hotel

St Patrick’s day often comes with school closures and the opportunity to go away with the kids for a night or two.

Ireland has many fun family hotels to choose from.

You can read our selection for kids of different ages in our guide to the best family hotels in Ireland here.

This is the family-friendly Hilton Templepatrick in Northern Ireland

Go to a St Patrick’s Day Parade… or not!

St Patrick’s Day is an important day in Ireland and one that comes with parades and celebrations all over the country.

The parades can be a lot of fun but can also be overwhelming.

If you think a massive gathering can be too tiring for you, opt for a stay in a smaller town instead: smaller centers can have lovely parades with a much more visitor-friendly atmosphere than the massive one in Dublin!

I highly recommend going to a smaller parade especially if visiting Irland with kids.

Need to know: ST Patrick’s Day attracts MANY visitors, who join the locals in country-wide celebrations. Advance booking of hotels is paramount and restaurant bookings for dinners out are also recommended. Pubs get very busy at this time and drinking can get heavy, especially late in the day. Opt for smaller centers and hotels away from the cities if you prefer a quieter experience. Be extra careful on the roads if driving.

Bring the kids to a farm

Ireland has a lot of cute, family-friendly farms where the kids can play and see the animals (March is the month for lambs!).

There are many all over the country and usually are also equipped with cafes and play areas for kids.

Visit a garden

Ireland has some stunning gardens and March, especially the second part of the month, is a great time to visit.

You have a variety of gardens to choose from but among the best, we believe are:

I hope you enjoyed this overview with what to expect in Ireland in March. Safe travels!

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