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January - March

January through March is considered the low season across Ireland, whether you are visiting the Republic of Ireland or British Northern Ireland. You will see frost across the country many mornings through March, although snow tends to be uncommon. Irish people like winter sports, although many tend to travel to the Alps for vacations due to the lack of powder at home. If you would like to ski while in Ireland, consider doing so while in the Dublin area. It is home to the Irish Ski Centre, an indoor slope, and the Ski Club of Ireland, which owns four outdoor slopes in Kilternan, County Dublin.

Temperatures across the island will range from 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit for highs and 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit for lows. Freezes do occur in the winter on an occasional basis. Temperatures will rise by the end of March but only into the low 50s Fahrenheit for highs and low 40s for lows. Note that since this is the low season, many bed and breakfasts and other accommodations in the countryside may close down through the end of March. This will not be an issue in big cities such as Dublin, Belfast, Cork, and Galway, among others, and you should be able to get good deals on hotels or B&Bs at this time. Also, Aer Lingus and other airlines which fly directly from the United States to Ireland offer their best fares of the year around this time.

Holidays and Festivals:

January 1 - New Year's Day (Lá Caille in Irish). National holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

January 6 - Epiphany, Old Christmas or the `Women's Christmas`, also known as `Little Christmas`. The official end of the Christmas season, this typically means the Christmas tree and decorations are taken down in homes across Ireland on this day.

Late January - Temple Bar TradFest, Dublin, celebrating Irish folk music and cultural activities.

February 1 - Saint Brigid's Day (Lá Fhéile Bríde). One of Ireland`s patron saints, St. Brigid is venerated by many and she is honored beginning at sundown on January 31. On February 1, many villages celebrate the day by having townspeople weave rushes together into the sign of St. Brigid`s Cross, which are then presented at the local church in her honor. This day is also known as the traditional `beginning of spring` -- although it is still very much winter!

February 14 - Saint Valentine's Day (Lá San Vailintín). Many Irish lovers celebrate this day similarly to couples in the United States. For those wishing to find true love, many make the pilgrimage to Dublin`s Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church, where his remains are believed to be interred.

Late February through early March - The Dublin International Film Festival, the largest film festival in Ireland, begins two weeks of movie screenings. Dublin is one of the most profitable European capitals when judged by movie ticket sales.

February into March - Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday mark the beginning of Lent, still widely observed across the country.

March 17 - St. Patrick's Day (Lá Fhéile Pádraig). One of Ireland`s patron saints, this day is considered the Republic of Ireland`s `national day`. Parades and religious processions can be seen in towns and villages. The largest parades will be seen in Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Derry, Galway, and in Downpatrick, County Down. The St. Patrick`s Festival begins in Dublin two days before the national day. National holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Friday before Easter - Good Friday (Aoine an Chéasta). National holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Monday after Easter - Easter Monday (Luan Cásca). The day after Easter Sunday (Domhnach Cásca) -- also coincides with the commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising, an insurrection against the then-ruling British crown. National holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.