MANY parts of Ireland enjoyed the warmest March in more than half a century, forecasters have confirmed.
An unseasonable surge in temperatures last week broke records at weather stations in Co Mayo and Cork, Met Eireann said.
Temperatures at Belmullet in Co Mayo, Valentia Observatory in Co Kerry, Malin Head in Co Donegal and Phoenix Park in Dublin were the warmest in more than 50 years.
Other stations around the country reported their highest average March temperatures in between 14 to 22 years, while most stations saw the highest maximums since 1965.
The mercury soared to as high as 22.2C at Belmullet, the highest since the weather station opened there in 1956.
Cork Airport basked in 18.8C heat at one stage during last week, the warmest March there since 1962.
It was sunnier than normal and rainfall was also relatively low for the time of year.
Some areas recorded half normal rainfall levels during the month, said Met Eireann.
Mullingar had its driest March in 51 years, while most other weather stations reported their driest March in at least seven years.