Ireland In March 2020: Advice From A Local (Weather, What To Pack + More)

The pros and cons

dogs bay galway
Photo by Big Smoke Studio via Tourism Ireland

Debating visiting Ireland in March and worried that it won’t be the right time to visit for your Irish adventure?

Relax.

In the guide below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know (and what to expect) if you’re planning a visit to Ireland in March 2020.

Spring in Ireland can be a mixed bag. And we’ve experienced some mental weather (I’m talking about you, 2018!) in the past.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to decide whether or not it’s the right time to visit.

What you’ll get from reading this guide

  • Honest no-BS advice on what it’s like here in March 
  • A guide to the weather in March
  • What to wear in Ireland in March
  • What to pack

Planning a trip to Ireland? Make sure to dive into our detailed guide to planning the perfect Ireland itinerary.

Would I visit Ireland in March: An honest answer

 

Yes, I absolutely would.

If you’ve spent any time browsing this site, you’ll know that I tend to travel around Ireland during two periods:

  • January – April
  • October – December
Mayo's Great Western Greenway
Photo by Gareth McCormack

Why? 

  • Well, for one thing, it’s cheaper. Accommodation costs tend to be lower.
  • There are also WAY fewer crowds about the place.

There’s a couple of trade-offs, however:

  • The weather can be mental (more on this later)
  • The days are shorter, which means you have less daylight to explore in
Related Read: Check out our detailed guide to choosing the best time to visit Ireland for your road trip.

The Weather in Ireland in March: What it’s really like

Weather in Ireland in March
Photo by Chris Hill

The weather in Ireland in March can be very hit and miss. 

And, as I mentioned earlier, like every month of the year in Ireland is incredibly unpredictable.

What is the weather like in Ireland in March?

It’d be easy for me to give you avg. temperatures and rainfall levels (what do they even mean…?!) but I think it’d be more useful for you if I told you what the weather here has been like over the past 2 years:

2019 wasn’t too bad

In 2019, we experienced two storms:

  • Storm Freya brought heavy rainfall for Munster and Leinster (which turned to snow in places)
  • Storm Gareth brought strong winds to the island in the middle of the month 

2018 was.. 2018 was mental

The weather in March in Ireland in 2018 was NUTS.

In late February and early March of 2018, Ireland was hit with one of the most significant snowfalls of recent years.

Temperatures plummeted and we experienced widespread snowfall that pretty much (and I’m not exaggerating here) shut down the country.

Average Temperature in Ireland in March

The temperature starts to slowly climb in March (keep in mind that this can change – look at 2018 above!).

Average high temperatures can rise to a mild 10°C+, while the average lows tend to hover around 4.4°C (again, this can change drastically).

Towards the end of March, however, the temperatures usually rise to more comfortable levels. Expect temperatures to rise to around 15 degrees during the day. 

Those from colder temperate climates will find the weather in Ireland in early March fairly easy to handle.

Those who come from more tropical regions may find Ireland’s March climate quite cold.

What season is March in Ireland?

March 1st officially marks the arrival of Spring in Ireland (March – May). This should signal the arrival of better, warmer weather, but as you can see above, the last couple of years have been pretty up and down weather-wise.

What to Wear in Ireland in March

What to Wear in Ireland in March
Photo via Tourism Ireland

I’ve had a few questions from people asking what to wear in Ireland in March in the past.

The crazy variation in temperatures mean that you’ll want to keep a sharp eye on weather predictions before packing to go. 

March can bring pleasant, somewhat warm, breezy springlike days, but if northeast winds dominate, you’ll need to prepare for more bitter temperatures (and possibly even snow).

What to pack for Ireland in March

wicklow way walk
Photo by James Fennell via Failte Ireland

That old saying ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’ applies doubly to the Irish weather and your choice of clothing.

If I’m travelling in Ireland during March or in any of the colder months, I wear layers.

I like to have enough light layers (long-sleeve t-shirts, hoodies, etc) that I can throw on if it’s cold and remove if it’s warm.

I’ll then pop a light waterproof jacket on top and I’m good to go.

A waterproof jacket is essential!

The essentials

  • Hiking boots (or shoes)
  • A waterproof jacket
  • An umbrella
  • Waterproof trousers/pants if you’re planning on doing walking/hiking
  • A warm hat, scarf, and gloves
  • Plenty of warm socks (there’s nothing worse than walking around in damp socks!)
Things to do in Ireland in March
Photo by Suzanne Clarke

Things to do in Ireland in March 2020

  1. Plan your trip around St. Patrick’s Day
  2. Step off-the-beaten-path and explore the Beara Peninsula
  3. Spin along the Causeway Coastal Route
  4. Visit the International Film Festival in Dublin
  5. Head on a road trip through Ireland’s Ancient East
  6. Eat your way around Galway
  7. Explore the Kilkenny countryside

Many people who travel to Ireland in March come to enjoy Saint Patrick’s Day.

Visitors travel from across the globe to come and experience the madness of March 17th and to learn more about Irish history and heritage.

Here are some other things to do in March (have a look at our guide to 100+ of the best (and most unique) places to see in Ireland) if you need more inspiration!

The International Film Festival

At the beginning of the month, Dublin hosts its world-famous International Film Festival.

It features the best in aspiring independent films for the world to experience, many for the first time.

Related read: Check out our guide to 90 of the best things to do and places to visit in Dublin in 2019/2020.

Scenery by the bucket load

killarney national park deer
Photo via Tourism Ireland

For those looking to get away from it all, Ireland is home to an abundance of beautiful and scenic national parks that feature awe-inspiring peaks, wide and spacious valleys, and the opportunity to experience Ireland’s tremendous diversity of flora and fauna. 

Killarney National Park, for example, welcomes thousands of visitors every year.

The landscape of the park boasts beautiful mountains and sublime wetlands. Those who have an interest in wildlife may even spot an elusive red deer.

History and architecture

If history and medieval architecture pique your interest, you should pay a visit to Jerpoint Abbey.

Built in the 12th century, it serves as one of the last Romanesque style churches built before the advent of the Gothic style.

It also features a tomb sculpture which dates back between 300 and 500 years, as well as an imposing tower and cloister which date to the 15th century.

If you wish to experience other interesting historical sites, check out Dublin Castle and any number of other local attractions.

Loads of other things to explore

If you’re visiting Ireland in March and looking to explore all there is to do, visit our counties of Ireland section.

Here, you’ll be able to browse through thousands of incredible things to do and places to visit.

Wrapping it up: Should you bother visiting Ireland in March

visiting Ireland in March
Photo by Tourism Ireland

Weigh up the pros and cons. Ireland in March 2020 could be mild and dry.

It could also bring snow, wind, and rain.

You really need to be happy enough to take the chance and embrace the weather, regardless of what it brings.

Have a question about planning a trip to Ireland? Give me a shout in the comments below!

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

37 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Keith,
    Really appreciate your input on Ireland in March. My wife and I are planning on going the early part of March, 6-16, so we’ll miss St. Patrick’s Day, but it sounds like there’s still a lot of great things to see during this season. Thanks.
    -Jon

    • Hi Jon,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Absolutely! You’ll have a great trip – I can’t recommend having that light waterproof jacket with you!

      Enjoy your visit and let me know if you need help with anything!

      Cheers,

      Keith

  2. Wonderful to read this! Can you tell me if it might be better to head South rather than North during that time of the year? Perhaps better weather the further South we get?

    • Hey Lisa – I think you’re better off prioritising what you want to see over where might have better weather. It’s always said that Cork gets hotter weather in the summer. We planned a 5-night stay there a few weeks back… it rained for 4 of them.

  3. Greetings Keith, thanks for posting this information, it genuinely helps our trip planning for our kiddo – he and his high school’s marching band are set to undertake a musical performance tour in and around Dublin during our 2020 Spring Break in mid-March. My biggest concern is getting his daily gear packed just right – enough of what he needs and not overdoing it. Sounds like he’ll be packing a waterproof outer shell jacket of some kind and lots of layers, including extra socks. Given how long it takes shoes/boots to dry, I wonder if two pair are enough, or should he pack a third pair of footwear? Thanks!!!

    • Hi Gus,

      Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you! I hope all is well!

      I’d say two pairs would be more than enough. Especially if he’s going to mainly be walking around the city. To be honest, if it’s only the city that you’ll be exploring, one pair is more than likely enough.

      That being said, if he’ll be heading off on hikes or anything like that, a second pair can’t hurt.

      I hope this helps!

      Cheers,

      Keith

  4. Hi Keith!

    Thanks for the info!

    My friend and I are taking our spring break from college to travel to Ireland 2/28-3/8! We want to avoid renting a car if possible, so we are relying on public transportation to get from city to city. That being said, it looks like to travel to Blarney Castle from either Galway or Doolin, it takes much longer by bus/train than by car (5+ hrs instead of ~2ish). Is there any way around this? Would you recommend we sacrifice one of the three?

    We just don’t want to lose too much time traveling from place to place since we have only 8 1/2 days. If you have any suggestions for us we would greatly appreciate them! (Right now we are trying to fit in Dublin, Galway, Aran Islands, Doolin/Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, and then fly out from Dublin again).

    Thanks in advance,
    Shannon & Cali

    • Hi Shannon,

      The ideal is to rent a car, as it’s 100 times handier to get around Ireland with one, but that’s not always possible, of course!

      The only way around it is to try and find an organised tour that you can join. Otherwise, you’re stuck with public transport, I’m afraid. If I had to sacrifice one, it’d be Blarney Castle, as this is one destination with only a couple of things to see, whereas you can see an endless number of things in Galway and Doolin (we’ve detailed guides to both of these places that you can have a browse through).

      With a car, you’d list of Dublin, Galway, Aran Islands, Doolin/Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, and then fly out from Dublin again are all dooable in 8 days (adding Blarney in may be pushing it as it’s on the other side of the island).

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,

      Keith

  5. Thanks for this guide! We are heading to Ireland (starting in Dublin) for the first two weeks of March. This has been super helpful information 😁
    ~Pam

  6. Hi Keith,

    Thank you for the information. I am taking my mom to Ireland March 7-15th for her 80th birthday. Her mom was born in Ireland and it has always been a dream of hers to go.

  7. Thank you so much for the tips! Very helpful! Going Mar 21-29. Good point to skip Blarney and definitely see Galway and Doolin and Killarney Park.
    What do you think of the Old Bushmills Distillery, Leap Castle and Seans Bar which were all on my original list.

  8. Hi Keith,

    I am taking my son (18) on his first trip to Ireland March 20-29th arriving in and out of Dublin. I want to visit a friend in Tralee at some point of the trip. Is it better to join on a guided tour to get to the west or is it possible to hire a local to drive us? I am way too nervous to rent a car! Of course, I want him to see as much as possible along our journey, not just the typical tourist spots. Looking for a more authentic Irish experience. Any thoughts? 🙂

  9. Hi Keith,

    Thanks for all the helpful information. Nothing better than a local’s advice. My friend and I are planning on spending our spring break here, March 12-20th and since we will be here for St. Patrick’s Day, we were looking to find the best thing to do. Do you have any recommendations on where to celebrate St Patty’s Day?

    Also, where is your favorite place to spend the day in Ireland? Looking for someplace to explore that most tourists don’t.

    Thank you,
    Sarah

  10. Thank you for this. We are planning a trip to Ireland March 10-23 (will probably head to the mainland for a few days in the tail end). Likely planning top roadtrip around the country. Any suggestions?

  11. Hi Keith,

    Thank you for this guide. I plan to read more of your blog for further ideas. My husband and I will be there from March 12th – 23rd. We are hoping to do something more “low key” on St. Patrick’s Day rather than be a part of the hoopla in Dublin. Is there a smaller, more quiet town you would suggest for St. Patrick’s Day?

  12. Keith,

    We are headed to Ireland for our Spring Break (March 6-14th). The Cliffs of Moher are on my bucket list but I want to visit the ancient stone homes and I can’t remember where they are located. We’re so excited to visit! We may even plan to retire here as US ex-pats in the years to come. It’s an important trip. Your blog/article is SO helpful! Thank you for all that you do.

    Sincerest regards,
    Marisa

  13. Hi Keith,

    We will be in Ireland March 7th to the 12th not including travel days. We are staying in Kilkenny the first two nights and then i planned to head to Cork for a night, then Kerry for a night and end in Dublin with two nights. I’m not sure what all is on the list to see quite yet as I’m afraid I’m trying to fit in too much. The only must do is some site seeing in Tipperary since my mother in laws family originated there, my husband and I are taking her for her 50th. I’d like to visit fungie, see the cliffs of moher and a castle for sure. Any recommendations must sees or dos? I LOVE nature and anything with a view. Like I said my mother in law only really wants to see Tipperary (figure we will drive here on one of our Kilkenny days) and the husband wants to see Dublin, everything else is up to me.

    Thank you!

  14. Hi! Thank you for the information, it is very helpful! My husband and I are going to be in Dublin to Kilkea to Ashford/Galway then on to Fitzpatrick castle from March 14th-22nd. I am struggling finding the best restaurants on our journey. We would really like to experience great food, quaint restaurants and pubs during our time there. However, I cannot find a resource that helps me plan what places we can go to that have a traditional Irish environment. Can you help?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Tonya,

      There’s an Irish website called The Taste that’s great for restaurant recommendations.

      As far as great pubs go, if you visit this page you’ll find a guide to 90% of the counties in Ireland. Each one lists out several of the best pubs in the area.

      Cheers,

      Keith

  15. Hi Keith,
    Would you recommend booking a trip to the Cliffs of Moher at the end of March or is the weather too variable that time of year?
    Thank you!

    • Hey! The weather could be grand, it could be just alright, or it could be terrible. If you’re nearby, there’s no harm in going and chancing your arm. Hopefully the weather holds up!

  16. Thanks for providing such a wonderful site! I lived in Clonakilty for a little under a year a few years ago and have been trying to return every year, even if for a short visit. This time around I’ve got 15 family and friends tagging along next month, to see why I keep coming back to Ireland, ha! Trying to show them as much of the country, especially those “non-touristy” things, your site has been extremely helpful. Very much so looking forward to it, and thanks again!

  17. Thanks for the tips! We’ll be arriving March 7-17th we plan to do a lot of hiking exploring wondering I purchased a wool peacoat for the trip do you think that will be good or should I consider checking more for a strictly lightweight waterproof jacket? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

  18. Thankyou Keith for your weather advice in March. A pair of garden Boots (rubber) would be advisable. Nothing worse than putting on wet shoes putting whils travelling around Ireland. Difficulty drying wet shoes overnight.
    Looks like we will have plenty of fellow tourists in March.

  19. I’ve heard St. Patrick’s Day celebrations start the Friday before and continue on to the 17th! Is that true? We will probably be leaving the 16th, but I thought we may still be able to celebrate!

  20. Hi Kieth. We’re landing in Dublin at 6.30am on the morning of St Patrick’s Day and staying until the end of the month.
    Accommodation has been booked for the first three nights in Dublin before driving around the entire island.
    Do you recommend we consider staying in B&B type accommodation, pubs in quaint towns and villages or established motels?
    Also, are pubs the best places to eat a good hearty meal or would you we also advise dine in restaurants?

    • Hi Michael,

      Sounds like you’ve an unforgettable trip ahead of you!

      When it comes to accommodation, I tend to pick places based on the budget that I have to play with. There are some excellent B&Bs and Hotels in Ireland. There are, like everywhere else in the world, some terrible ones, also.

      I find that looking at Booking.com reviews and Google reviews gives a solid insight into what a place is like.

      You’ll find that B&Bs tend to be cheaper. The experience, in certain B&Bs, can also be much more memorable (you tend to meet people that have run the same B&B for decades and that are full of stories!).

      On the food question, the honest (and pretty unhelpful) answer is “it depends’. You’ll find that in some towns the best food on offer is from the local pub.

      In others, you’ll be better off in a cafe or hotel restaurant. Again (sorry, I’m sure I sound like a broken record here!) Google reviews is your friend in thi situation.

      I hope my rambling has been of some help. Have a lovely trip.

      Cheers,

      Keith

  21. We visited Ireland in March twenty years ago, had beautiful weather, and always said we will go back. We drove around the south last time. This time we are taking buses, trains and local tours to see some of the north. We will arrive in Dublin on March 17, in the wee hours of the morning, and will go directly to Galway in time to see their parade. I’ve heard Dublin is a zoo on St. Patrick’s Day, so we’re headed elsewhere for the festivities. All of this depending on the coronavirus and its effects. Do you have any information on that situation in Ireland? Are events, tours, or popular sights being cancelled or closed?

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