March coldest and wettest for years
Temperatures in March plunged to the lowest on record in most parts of the country, it has been confirmed.
Met Eireann said unseasonable icy conditions, heavy rain and gales made it the coldest March in decades and the wettest and windiest for years.
At Dublin Airport the mean temperature was 3.1C (37.6F), its coldest March since the weather station opened 71 years ago, while Claremorris and Mullingar hit the lowest monthly temperature since records began there in 1950.
The majority of stations in the south and south-west of the country also hit a 51-year low, with Shannon Airport recording its coldest since 1955.
However Markree, Co Sligo, suffered most as air temperature fell to minus 7.6C (18.3F) on March 12 and ground temperature plunged to minus 13.7C (7.3F). The highest temperature, 14.3C (57.7F), was found at Athenry four days earlier.
The weather summary for March said thunderstorms were recorded on several days in the south and south-west and in the east. Elsewhere rainfall was on or above average in the east, south-east and in parts of the south, with most in the area reporting it as their wettest March for five to seven years.
The most fell in Cork on March 21, when 1.6in (41.2mm) of rain was recorded, the highest March daily fall since 1996. Total rainfall for the month was 5.1in (134.9mm) at Cork Airport, while the lowest was found at Shannon Airport with 1.1in (28.3mm).
Meanwhile most stations also reported their highest March winds in five years, with an average 22mph (35kph) at Malin Head.
Met Eireann said there were up to 12 days with gale gusts at the station where 70mph (113kph) winds were recorded on March 22. "Six days with gale-force winds were reported, all in the north and west, with severe gale force winds in the north on the 21st and 22nd," Met Eireann added.
Cork Airport reported a March mean wind speed of 15mph (24kph), its highest in 19 years.