MARCH is expected to be confirmed as one of the coldest on record when official records are released today.
The Met Eireann statistics for last month are expected to show exceptionally cold weather, with snow and freezing temperatures dominating.
Germany has recorded the coldest March on record since the 1880s, while in the UK it was the coldest since 1962.
But signs of spring will finally begin to sweep the country this week.
The first week of April will remain cold, but it will be mainly dry and there will be lots of sunshine to look forward to.
Temperatures will be three or four degrees below average but a band of cloud and rain from the Atlantic will push westwards today.
Mostly, though, rain and sleet will disappear alomg with the biting south-easterly winds.
It will be several degrees below freezing in some places today, but temperatures will gradually rise during the week.
Top temperatures will reach four to seven degrees today although there will be a raw easterly wind.
It will be dry and cloudy but will brighten up tomorrow and remain like this until Thursday.
Met Eireann said the cold but dry weather would continue during most of the week although temperatures would be well below normal for early April.
"Highest daytime values will range from six to eight degrees tomorrow and Wednesday, rising a degree or so over the second half of the week," it said.