Spring is in the air and there's no better time to take in some of the great festivals and events taking place throughout the month of March in Ireland. Log onto www.discoverireland.ie/whatson for the full list of the must see festivals taking place, but for now, here are some of our favourites.

Lights, Camera, Action
Looking for something different to do this month? Then munch through your popcorn watching the crème of French cinematic talent at the 23rd Cork French Film Festival running from 4th - 11th March in Cork city, bringing a selection of superb screenings, cine-concerts, master classes, installations, conferences, speakers and competitions.

Alternatively, take a trip to Kerry and celebrate international cinematic talent at the Dingle International Film Festival taking place from 15th -18th March. Ranking as one of the best film festivals for content, atmosphere and location, DIFF offers unique screening experiences with stars and talent attending seminars and workshops, along with free family screenings.

This month also sees a host of film festivals introducing a fresh wave in Irish filmmaking talent. Offering workshops, creating opportunities to network and hosting Ireland’s Young Filmmaker Award is the Fresh Film Festival in Limerick city from 26th - 30th March. While the first Fingal Film Festival takes place in Blanchardstown, Dublin from 21st - 23rd March and will provide seminars, master classes with acclaimed directors and actors, plus screenings of documentaries and animation. Concluding with an award ceremony this is the perfect opportunity for an aspiring Spielberg to make their mark.

Taking Centre Stage
The 51st annual West Cork Drama Festival sees the tiny village of Rossmore in West Cork become a Mecca for drama lovers from the 9th -18th March, and promises award-winning performances with productions of Brian Friel’s “Dancing at Lughnasa,” and Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” in the line-up.
The Roscommon Drama Festival from 2nd - 10th March, will play host to a programme to suit all tastes, with collaborations, original plays and adapted pieces set to take the stage by storm at the Roscommon Arts Centre.

Take a Leaf out of our Book
Classical music from the French Labeque sisters provides the soundtrack to the River Barrow Arts Festival taking place in both Borris, Co. Carlow and Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny, from the 2nd - 4th of March. As well as tuning into jazz and saxophonists, leading storyteller Eddie Lenihan will have audiences hanging on his every word.

The Ennis Book Club Festival from 2nd - 4th of March, is a social and literary gathering bringing together book club members and readers from all over Ireland and beyond. This year’s line-up includes two influential English novelists - bestselling authors Lynne Reid Banks and Patrick Gale plus a packed programme including readings and tours of the historic town with local historian Seán Spellisy.

Literary buffs will also have the chance to pen their own creations at the Waterford Writers Weekend Festival this month. Beginning on March 23rd, the weekend promises aspiring writers the opportunity to meet the authors behind some of their best-loved books, set their style in workshops, or get deep into debates about history or crime. There’s also a great line-up of children’s and fringe events.
Put a Spring in Your Step

Get your walking boots on

Take in some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ireland. The Táin Walking Festival takes place in Carlingford, Co. Louth from 2nd - 4th March. The event will kick off with a Night Walk to the top of Slieve Foye Mountain giving spectacular views over Carlingford Lough and The Mourne Mountains.

Picturesque Clifden sets the stage for the Connemara Four Seasons Walking Festival, a 3-day walking tour from the 16th – 18th March, taking in Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park on the Saturday and Inishbofin on the Sunday.

Finally, the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail Festival is three days of guided moderate to challenging walks from the 23rd- 25th March, visiting heritage sites, and hearing the local myths and legends from experienced guides before arriving at the foothills of Croagh Patrick.

Fancy Something a Little Different?
Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam- or so the saying goes! Seachtain na Gaeilge is back from March 5th- 17th with an action packed programme ranging from simple conversational evenings to street céilís to get all the family gabbing as Gaeilge.

See the light and celebrate the Spring Dawn Equinox from 20th-22nd March at Loughcrew Cairn T in Oldcastle, Co.Meath, where the rising sun penetrating the passage illuminates the black stone marking the beginning of Spring. Located in the Loughcrew Historic Gardens, staff will be at hand from 6.15am until 7.30am to escort visitors into the passage and mark the beginning of Spring.

The Carlingford National Leprechaun Hunt kicks off on 25th March and invites families to win cash prizes while basking in the hidden treasures of the local countryside. A €5 hunting licence, of which all funds go to charity, is the only requirement before you bag yourself some bounty. A fantastic day for all the family, don your brogues and dress up! You never know, you might be lead to a pot of gold!

For more information visit www.discoverireland.ie/whatson