106 things to do in Ireland this summer: IMAGE’s ultimate best date catalogue
25th Apr 2018
Whether it’s with your best friend, your dog, your mum or your husband; our team of writers has scoured the country for the very best date ideas and locations. Bookmark this page and use it as your summer 2018 guide.
BEST NATURE WALKS
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim
This famous rope bridge connects mainland Antrim to the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede, and on a clear summer’s day you can see the coast of Scotland in the distance. This is a great place for a date with your best mate or other half – but with hilly terrain and a lot of steps, it might not suit someone with limited mobility.
Courtown Woods, Co. Wexford
These woods are a beautiful destination for a date with your dog – or indeed the whole family. With numerous routes to take, each visit is different. Stroll along the river or take a trail to the beach. The sound of trickling water and crashing waves is lovey and therapeutic
Salthill Promenade, Co. Galway
You’ve heard it from the hit song Galway Girl, but did you know it’s a beautiful walk destination? Stretching approximately 3km along the coast, this is an ideal spot to catch-up with your friends. There’s a local tradition to ‘kick the wall’ once you reach the end. It’s for luck, so you’d be mad not to.
Tara Hill, Co. Wexford
This scenic trek takes approximately an hour, but with views across the Irish Sea, you’ll never want to leave. Two trails are available – red and blue – so you can mix it up on different visits. With a historic past, it’s one for the history lovers.
Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare
Visitors of all ages can take a leisurely stroll along these UNESCO recognised cliffs on the Wild Atlantic Way. From the South Platform you’re perfectly placed to see the puffin colony on Goat Island, or walk 4km to Hags Head to take in the incredible views. They’re Instagram-worthy, so make sure to bring your phone.
BlueStack Way, Co. Donegal
This one isn’t for the faint hearted, but perfect for couples looking for a challenge. Running from Donegal Town to Ardara, the rugged Blue Stack Mountains have peaks in excess of 600m. The total route takes a few days to complete on foot, but there are B&B stops along the way. Alternatively, hike part of the way with a packed picnic before returning home.
Powerscourt Gardens, Co. Wicklow
It’d be rude to list Ireland’s most beautiful nature walks without naming Powerscourt Gardens. In fact, they were recently voted No.3 in the World’s Top Ten Gardens by National Geographic. Spanning over 47 acres, this site offers a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, statues and ornamental lakes, secret hollows and rambling walks. It’s very romantic and highly worthy of a date.
Blarney Castle Gardens, Co. Cork
These beautiful gardens are often overlooked because of the nearby tourist attraction of the Blarney Stone. With over 60 acres of sprawling parklands to explore, including rivers, caves, and flowerbeds, it makes for a brilliant day out (whoever your date).
The People’s Gardens at Phoenix Park, Co.Dublin
The flower gardens in Dublin’s Phoenix Park comprise of 22 acres and show off Victorian horticulture at its best. There’s a large ornamental lake, children’s playground, and various picnic areas – making this a lovely place to spend a summer’s day. Mere minutes from the city centre, it’s easy to get to too.
Hell Fire, Co.Dublin
Hell Fire is located in the Dublin Mountains, overlooking the city from the South West. It’s a beautiful spot for a day out with the kids, or for a relaxing walk with your best friend, with over 4.5km of forest tracks to explore. As with many of the locations mentioned in this list, it’s a gorgeous place for a picnic.
BEST SPOTS FOR TEA AND SCONES
The Garden Cafe, Blackpool, Co.Cork
This quaint and quirky cafe is located in a Victorian style glasshouse overlooking Blackpool. It opens from Monday to Friday each week for tea and coffee, freshly baked scones, brownies and flap jacks. It’s family friendly; there’s a playground located on the grounds and the cafe is proud to welcome breastfeeding mums.
Accents Coffee & Tea Lounge, Stephen Street, Dublin 2
A personal favourite among Image.ie staff, this comfortable cafe serves delicious hot drinks with freshly baked scones and pastries. It’s deceptively small-looking from the front, but there’s abundant sofa-seating downstairs. We love it for a good girly catch-up after work with our pals.
Known mostly for its extensive gin menu, Tribeton is also a fabulous place to go for a cuppa. With an on-site pastry chef, a quick scroll through their Instagram will have your stomach grumbling for a scone. Meanwhile, the trendy interiors give off a fun New York vibe. It’s a perfect spot for romantic tea for two.
Blas Cafe at the Chocolate Factory, Kings Inn Street, Dublin 1
Are scones your guilty pleasure? You’ll die and go to heaven when you smell the freshly baked scones at Blascafe – let alone taste them. Just layer on some butter and raspberry preserve, et bon appetite.
The Boathouse, Phoenix Park, Dublin 15
The deck at the Boathouse, which overlooks an ornamental lake at Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, makes for a beautiful setting for morning tea. Its surroundings remain unchanged since the nineteenth century so it feels like you’re in another world. Delicious scones, cakes and tea are served from 10am till 5pm.
Keogh’s Cafe, Trinity Street, Dublin 2
This family-run business is famous for their fruit scones so they have to make the list. Name your flavour, they probably have it. From ‘Pear & Vanilla’ to ‘Brown Raisin Cinnamon’, there’s something for every tastebud. They offer a full range of herbal teas too, so everybody is catered for. This is a good spot for a catch-up with your colleagues. After all, it’s right in the heart of town.
Avoca, Monkstown, Co. Dublin
Another favourite among Image staff is Avoca in Monkstown. With a varied selection from cheese to berry scones, you’re guaranteed to find your flavour. They’ll heat the scone for those who prefer it that way, and they’re served with cream, tasty jam and melted butter.
Café Parisien, Donegall Square North, Belfast
If you love nothing more than a classic afternoon tea, visit this French-inspired cafe across from Belfast’s City Hall. With Parisian inspired decor and dainty teapots and teacups, you’ll be in your element. FYI – you won’t need Google maps to find it – simply follow the scent of scones and croissants and you’ll get there.
BEST PLACES FOR A SWIM
Vico (also known as Hawk’s Cliff), Co.Dublin
Vico is a complete sun trap and you can either lounge out on the rocks by the water or have a picnic on the grass at the top of the hill. It’s really secluded, but keep an eye out for the nudist bathers that frequent there.
The Half Moon by the South Wall, Co.Dublin
Right in the centre of Dublin Bay, this spot is great if you have kids. There’s a great area to change and you can add in a walk after to Poolbeg Lighthouse. Win-win!
The Forty-Foot in Sandycove, Co.Dublin
You can’t make a ‘best swim’ list without including the Forty Foot. Made famous by James Joyce’s Ulysses, it’s a quintessential swimming location for Dubliners.
Dalkey Island, Dalkey, Co.Dublin
Take a boat and swim with the seals around Dalkey Island. This swim isn’t for the faint-hearted!
Silver Strand Beach, Co.Wicklow
Only about an hour drive from Dublin either by car or bus, this is a stunning beach right next to the more popular Brittas Bay beach. You’ll feel like you’re in the Mediterranean but without the crowds.
When the sun is out, tourists and visitors flock to the magical lake in Glendalough. This lake swim will leave you feeling truly fresh.
Ireland’s Eye, Howth Harbour, Dublin 13
This small island off the coast of Howth is easily reached by tourist boats and it makes for an adventurous dip.
Marble Hill Beach, Co.Donegal
Swim with the surfers at this beautiful beach in Dunfanaghy, Donegal. Nothing beats pale, soft sand and turquoise water. Have a coffee in The Shack afterwards- you won’t regret it.
Seapoint, Dublin 4
This traditional swimming point is loved by Dubliners and only 15 km from the city center. Make sure to check the tides in order to have a fantastic swim at Seapoint.
Rossbeigh Beach, Glenbeigh, Co.Kerry
This is a perfect seaside swimming stop when driving along the ring of Kerry. Sit on the sandy dunes and take in one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches.
BEST SHOW OFF DATES
(Image: The Tara Building Facebook Page)
BigStyle, Louisburgh, Co. Mayo
Join these guys for an adventurous weekend away in Mayo and stay in their beautiful new lodge. Have fun kite-surfing, paddle-boarding, coasteering, camping and even join in the occasional singsong.
Dublin Street Art Tour
Dublin is fast becoming a place for emerging street artists to showcase their talent. Walk from Smithfield, up through Temple Bar and towards Tara Street to spot work from Maser, Decoy and the Subset group.
Rock Climb to music, Sandyford, Co.Dublin
The Wall Climbing Gym in Sandyford is a perfect way to spend a date. Enjoy a creative set up with some fun music playing in the background.
The Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield, Co.Dublin
Visit this independent cinema in Smithfield for the latest Irish and International films. Grab a drink and relax with a great movie.
The National Gallery, Dublin
Stroll through famous artwork from Jack B Yeats to Claude Monet. Then stop to discuss it all after over an Americano in their airy coffee shop.
Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Cornstore Mall, Middle Street Galway, Galway
Head to this independent bookshop located right in the heart of Galway and browse over 100,000 new, bargain and secondhand books
BEST PLACES TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR MOTHER
The Stella Theatre, Rathmines, Dublin 6
Decadent décor and fabulous cocktails make this a perfect cinema spot for you and your mother. Plus, they regularly show old-school movies, meaning you might get to see a family favourite from back in the day.
Afternoon Tea at The Shelbourne, Dublin 2
For the mother that loves a bit of luxury, afternoon tea is always the ultimate date activity. Having just reopened after significant refurbishment, it doesn’t get better than the Mayor’s Lounge at The Shelbourne.
Spa Day at The Galmont, Galway
Relaxation should always be top priority. The Galmont in Galway do great spa-day packages, with many including lunch or a cocktail for afterwards.
Vintage Cocktail Club, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
If speakeasy vintage vibes are you and your mother’s thing, head to the Vintage Cocktail Club for girly cocktails for grownups.
Head to a show at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2
Mums and muscials go together like ham and cheese. They get you up singing, dancing and laughing and there are plenty of bars and restaurants surrounding the theatre for drinks or dinner afterwards.
Lunch at Avoca (Various locations)
Furniture, skincare, beautiful cakes, coffees and fancy sausage rolls – Avoca might be the best place on earth for mothers and daughters alike.
Mani pedis at Tropical Popical, South William Street, Dublin 2
If your mother needs a beauty boost, the girls at Tropical Popical are your women. She’ll love the funky interiors and kitsch furniture and it’s a fun alternative to the usual pamper spots.
The Best of Buds, Winthrop Arcade, Winthrop St, Centre, Cork
The Best Of Buds is a flower shop like no other. While away an hour or two picking out beautiful buds with your mother and surprise her with a present on the way home
BEST PLACES FOR A FIRST DATE
Token, Smithfield, Dublin 7
The new it-spot in Smithfield is decked out with old-school video games and 80’s neon, that you can enjoy over cheap eats and a few beers. Plenty of opportunities to let your dance-mat skills do the talking.
Blackbird, Rathmines, Dublin 6
Another nostalgia-lover’s paradise, Blackbird has all the Starwars talking points you need, and plenty of boardgames to let your competitive side out.
Viking Splash Tour, Dublin
Have you ever really been to Dublin if you haven’t been on the Viking Splash Tour? Shouts, laughs and a history lesson – the perfect silly first date.
People watching in Pyg, South William Street, Dublin 2
Situated right on Dublin city’s creative centre, Pygmalion is famous for its house tunes and cocktails. But sitting outside and letting Dublin roll by make it perfect for first date chats.
Go-karting, Kylemore, Dublin 10
Go-karting is the perfect way to show off your driving skills and let him see how great you are with a clutch
Fota Island, Cork Harbour
Looking at cute animals on a first date is always a failsafe option, and Fota Island, complete with tiger and leopard cubs, is an absolute winner.
The Barge, Charlemont Street, Dublin 2
There is no better craic than Ireland when the sun is out, and the Barge serves as a perfect setting for an easygoing first date on the canal.
Take the Smithwicks Tour in Kilkenny
The Guinness Storehouse is a famed spot for date, but why not branch out of Dublin and head for the Smithwicks brewery in Kilkenny instead?
The Laughter Lounge, Eden Quay, Dublin 1
If the thought of chatting through dinner makes you feel a little awkward, head to the Laughter Lounge, where you can laugh together at the best up and coming comics in the city.
Bowling at Leisureplex (Various Locations)
Bowling is a classic date for a reason. Try to get to Leisureplex on one of their BYOB evenings for added amusement.
BEST PLACES FOR WINE AND CHEESE
Image via latouchewines4u.i
Piglet, Cow’s Lane, Dublin 8
Now this is a really quirky spot, bursting with atmosphere, character and fun in what must be the quietest area in Temple Bar. Piglet has featured on a number of food critics’ “best wine bar” lists, thanks to their impressive offering of Italian edibles and specially curated wine menu. A lovely place to go on a first date.
Chapter One, Parnell Square N, Dublin 1
For €35 you can indulge in their nine-piece cheese board – a real specialty for any cheese lovers out there. What’s more, the wine list includes rare and exclusive vintages, fine clarets and superb Champagnes and sparkling wines, as chosen by their in-house sommelier.
Bagots Hutton, Ormond Quay Upper, Dublin 1
This relaxed wine lounge which adopts comfortable low seating and low, atmospheric lighting which seems to create a bridge between Georgian Dublin and modern New York. They also frequently offer incredible midweek deals, such as a free cheese board when you buy a bottle of wine, making it a complete steal.
Ely Wine Bar, Ely Place, Dublin 2
Wine tastings at Ely are fun, informative and educational, and cover everything from tasting and assessing wine to food and wine pairing. You’ll also learn how to spot a fault, pick up a bargain and navigate a wine list, with the help of Ely’s award-winning Sommelier, Ian Brosnan.
Olesya’s Wine Bar, Exchequer Street, Dublin 2
Their “French and Irish Cheese Platter” has a stunning assortment of the various cheeses, and your waiter will be more than happy to help you pair it with a suitable wine of your choice. The Camembert Fondue is also well worth trying, if you want to double-up on the cheese offering.
La Ruelle, Joshua Lane, Dublin 2
La Ruelle have an undeniably vast selection of wines; with over 80 wines, ports, sherries and champagnes from all over the globe to choose from, you’re sure to find something you love. Their dish of Roast Fig Stuffed w/ Goat Cheese is one of particular acclaim.
The Port House, South William Street, Dublin 2
Specialising in mouth-watering Spanish pintxo and tapas, if you’re set on an evening of wine and cheese then we recommend ordering a bottle of red, and attempting one of each of their seven cheese dishes on the menu. It might sound a bit decadent, but trust us, your taste buds will thank you.
Sheridans Cheesemongers Shop & Wine Bar, Church Yard Street, Galway
Sheridans Cheesemongers have become a veritable Irish institution; a name that people have come to associate with the finest cheese in the land. Their bright and breezy Galway wine bar is a particular delight, and one that any self-respecting cheese aficionado must visit at least once in their life.
La Touche Wines, La Touche Place, Wicklow
A veritable Greystones institution, La Touche Wines is the go-to spot whenever the sun shines upon this seaside town. With a selection of high chairs and wine barrel tables outside, it’s rare to pass by and not spot a group of wine aficionados soaking up the last of the day’s sunshine alongside a crisp glass of pinot and elegant cheese board.
Salt, Victoria Road, Cork
The outdoor seating area makes Salt a particularly gorgeous spot to share a bottle of red with your date “du jour”, be it under the stars or in the heat of the Cork sun. And don’t be put-off if you’re gluten-free, they have GF bread which is so good that your gluten-full friends could even enjoy it too. Top it with cheese, fig jam and balsamic onions from their french cheese board, and you’re onto a winner
BEST PLACES FOR AN ARTY DATE
Throwing Workshop, Little Green Street, Dublin 7
Throwing is a one day workshop at Arran Street East to introduce you to the techniques of throwing pots. In a small class, you’ll work on a potter’s wheel to shape clay, and try your hand at some throwing techniques, guided by our expert potters, with the aim of making a simple pot of your own by the end of the day.
Pine Forest, Glencullen, Dublin 18
“Be a Pine Forest Big Kid for a day!” Taking place on the first Sunday of each month, the Pine Forest crew invite all adults between ages 18-80 to channel their inner kid, with a day spent creating colourful artwork, going on fun outdoor walks and learning about everything from tadpoles to tree rings.
Adult art class at The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin 2
The team at The National Gallery run a broad programme of tours, talks and drawing classes for adults nearly every day of the week (although activities are usually scheduled for lunch-times, Thursday evenings and Sundays). If the times don’t suit you, simply roaming around the gallery is always a lovely activity too, made all the better when followed by a coffee and cake in the cafe.
Pottery Painting, Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 14
Pottery painting really is as enjoyable and relaxing as it sounds, and it can be such a laugh when paired with a glass of BYO wine at Giddy Studios. Located in Dundrum Town Centre, choose whatever you want to paint, be it a mug, bowl, plate, or ornament. And don’t worry about being creatively-challenged, the Giddy team is great at helping with hints and tips.
Merrion Square Open Air Gallery, Dublin 2
On a Sunday afternoon when the sun is shining and the coffee is steaming, there’s nothing nicer than taking a stroll around Dublin’s own open air art gallery along the railings of Merrion Square. If you’re not buying then it’s still nice imagine what you would buy if you had the money. There’s some incredible talent to be seen on this square, and it might even encourage you to embrace your own creative talents again when you get home.
Knitting, Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin 2
This Is Knit offer knitting and crochet classes for everyone: from absolute beginners to experienced enthusiasts on a weekly basis. Their “everyday” classes are taught by friendly knowledgeable teachers who embrace the fun and laid-back side of knitting and crochet.
“Crafternoon”, at home
Invite your date/ mate around for an afternoon of arts and crafts, chilled beats, treats, and maybe a glass of wine thrown in the mix too, if you fancy it! The crafts can include anything from t-shirt tye-dying, to bunting making, birthday card drawing or knitting/ embroidery. A really lovely way to spend an afternoon, especially when the weather outside is bad.
Life drawing, Rutland Street, Co.Cork
Visions School of Art in Cork city offer practice sessions that are open to people of all levels and abilities (and many places around the country offer a similar opportunity). These Cork Life Drawing practice sessions are not instructed, but it is always possible to pick up tips and insights through break-time conversation with other participants.
Spoon Making, Westport, Co.Mayo
Éamonn O’Sullivan runs this brilliant one-day spoon carving workshop at several points throughout the year and gives participants the opportunity to make some really beautiful wooden creations. You can buy a place on an upcoming workshop here.
Woodworking, Ballinvalley, Co.Wicklow
Pick between the brilliant furniture or instrument-making course at Hill Picket Studio, both of which are open to all levels and take place in one full-day class. Beginners will get an introduction to various hand tools and techniques, and for participants with previous experience or who are a little more confident, you’ll have the opportunity to make projects such as stools, kitchen tables, guitars etc.
BEST DOG-FRIENDLY PLACES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR FOUR-LEGGED FRIEND
The Bernard Shaw, Portobello, Dublin
Anyone who frequents The Shaw often will tell you about the relaxed atmosphere, spacious and heated beer garden, and the Big Blue Bus that has served many a pizza. What you might not know is The Shaw are pooch-friendly too. So whether you’re dropping in for the weekly flea or just to catch up with mates, bring your furry pal too.
Wuff, Benburb St, Dublin
Nestled in a neat corner just minutes from Stoneybatter, Wuff is a relatively new haunt serving breakfast, brunch and bistro-style dinner. The space is cosy and has a real ‘neighbourhood’ feel to it. The addition of being dog-friendly just increases their brownie points.
Metro Cafe, South William Street, Dublin
It would be a rarity to walk by the busy Metro Cafe on South William Street to not find a dog and its owner relaxing outside. Metro is a well-known dog-friendly haven for busy shoppers and locals alike and staff will ensure to keep your dogs thirst quenched with water and treats.
Street 66, Parliament Street, Dublin
Street 66 on Parliament Street is a relative newcomer to the dog-friendly scene in Dublin. Tucked away in the heart of south Dublin, the bar boasts live music, an inviting atmosphere with a modern cosmopolitan finish. Worth the trip.
The Fumbally, Clanbrassil Street, Dublin
With bright and open design, friendly staff, great selection of vegetarian and vegan food, The Fumbally is a great option if you’re looking to get outside the hustle of the city centre. Just a note that your dog needs to be kept on a leash at all time and on the ground (away from tables and food!)
Two Pups Coffee, Francis Street. Dublin
Two Pups sits in the heart of The Liberties. The area is steeped in history so after you enjoy coffee and cake you can get lost in the small streets and age-old antique shops.
LOVE Supreme, Stoneybatter and Portobello, Dublin
What LOVE might lack in seating space, the coffee shop makes up for it with delicious coffee and flowing conversation. Enjoy a craft coffee with great and well thought-out food menu.
The Dog House Blues Tearooms, Howth, Dublin
With a carefree, cosy and intimate feel, the outdoor terrace of The Dog House is designed like a family sitting room steeped in character. The Dog House is the perfect pitstop after a walk with your four-legged friend on the pier.
Blas Cafe, Kings Inns Street, Dublin
Blas Cafe on Kings Inns Street, just around the corner from Cineworld in the Chocolate Factory Studios, serves great seasonal food with a key focus on vegetarian and vegan dishes. Not hungry? Sip on a coffee or tea instead and take a seat in one of the space’s comfy chairs and let time stand still.
BEST PLACES TO ENJOY CRAFT BEER AND WHISKY
The Rag Trader, Drury St, Dublin 2
If whiskey is what you’re after then you have to stop by The Rag Trader. Specialising in craft whiskey and stout, you’re guaranteed a huge selection; no matter what tickles your taste buds. Why not try a whiskey tasting class and put your knowledge to the test?
Berlin D2, Dame Lane, Dublin
Loyal customers of Berlin were delighted to see it reopen this year in its new home on Dame Lane. You can expect the same craic with the new, revamped version of Berlin: a big selection of craft beers and whiskeys and an even bigger dancefloor.
Riot, Aston Quay, Dublin
Riot is Dublin’s newest rock and roll haunt. Previously called The Gypsy Rose, the space has been given a clean revamp. Go on a sunny day and take advantage of the burgers.
Sin É, Coburg St, Cork
This tiny, tiny little pub on Coburg street has more life than most larger bars and restaurants. Expect good music and a great selection of craft beers and whiskey. Get there early to grab a seat.
The Belfry, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7
Stoneybatter has a great selection of places to eat and drink and The Bellfy is the newest addition to the list. Expect a chilled-out vibe, low-lighting and tasty local beer.
McSorley’s, Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Since 1991 McSorley’s has been a landmark in the heart of Ranelagh. Family-owned and run, McSorley’s combines traditional decor with modern spirits and cocktails which have ensured its status as one of Dublin’s best-loved bars. Make ours a Wicklow Wolf IPA.
Against The Grain, Camden Street, Dublin
There are few people who haven’t been through the doors of Against The Grain on Camden Street. This class spot is well-known for its huge selection (bigger than most bars) of craft beer, IPA, and whiskey. And they serve really, really tasty chicken wings on the side, too.
9 Below, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin
This is where you go if you’re really looking to impress someone special. The bar is an elegant and contemporary bar and designed beautifully (it looks like you’re in a first-class train carriage back in the heyday of the art-deco era). Worth a trip but don’t forget to book in advance.
Bierhaus, Henry St, Galway
The team at Bierhaus are the original aficionados of craft beer. They’ll help you pair your pint with the perfect recipe from their open-style kitchen and the relaxed music and friendly atmosphere will make you feel right at home.
The Market Bar, Fade St, Dublin
You might be familiar with the Market Bar’s vibrant atmosphere, tasty tapas and great selection of wine, but did you know about its secret whiskey bar at the back? The bar offers a huge variety of whiskey flavours from around the world with over 100 different bottles, including Irish, Scottish, Welsh, American, Swedish, Indian, Japanese and Taiwanese. This exclusive bar is open Thursday to Saturday from 5pm for all to enjoy.
BEST PLACES TO HAVE AN ADVENTURE
City Kayaking, Custom House Quay
What better way to spend an afternoon in the sun than rowing down The Liffey with your fancy? See the city from a new perspective in a two-hour excursion before stopping off at The Spencer for finger food and a delicious cocktail.
Piperstown Equestrian Centre, Termonfeckin, Drogheda
Impress your other half with a gallop through tens of acres of green land, or take it easy on a gentle walk at Piperstown Equestrian Centre in Drogheda. With a huge selection of ponies and horses to choose from, the experienced teachers will match you with the perfect beast and afterward spend quality time un-tacking and brushing the horses.
The Spinc, Glendalough
Put your orienteering skills to the test up high in the Spinc in Glendalough valley. The Spinc ridge overlooks the spectacular Glendalough Valley and is a tough climb, but when you see the view from the top, it’ll be totally worth it. Pack a pic-nic for additional brownie points.
Gravity rock climbing, Inchicore, Dublin 8
This will really take you out of your comfort zone: experience the thrill of zero gravity and build strength and tolerance at one of Dublin’s biggest indoor climbing venues. Rock climbing is the perfect balance of intimacy and adrenaline but hey, at least there’s a harness if one of you slips.
Wakedock, The Docklands
If speed is your thing (and water), then you have to try Wakedock, Ireland’s first cable wake park. Guided by an instructor, you can determine how fast or slow you go. When you’re ready, ramp things up and give the jumps a go. Or, when you’re finished, chill out on the jetty in the sun and watch the pros do it *queue oohs and aaahs*.
Lahinch Surfing School, Lahinch, Sligo
Ireland is one of the best places in the world to catch waves, so it’s a shame that most Irish people have yet to experience the thrill of surfing on the west coast. Lahinch is, by far, one of the best spots to ride the biggest waves, and is home to a number of international surf contests every year. The surf school in Lahinch was established in 2002 by Former Irish Champion and Pro Surfer John McCarthy,so you’re in very safe hands.
Go Quest, Finglas, Dublin 11
Can you and your significant other tag team to beat the clock? Or go head-to-head for the coveted prize of Number 1 Go-Quester? How do you think you’d fare being locking in a room together? If you think you can take the heat then spend an afternoon inGo-Quest; one of Ireland’s largest multi-level adventure venues.
Loughkey Forest Park, Boyle, Co Sligo
Walk among the treetops, paddle boat around the lough, explore centuries old castles or challenge you and your partner in the specially-designed activity rooms at Boda Borg. Bring your tent along too and camp under the stars….how romantic.
BEST DATES UNDER A TENNER
(Image: TheBernardShaw on Instagram)
Fish and chips in Bray, Co.Wicklow
Sea air and salt and vinegar are all a good date really needs, and it’ll only cost you a DART ticket and a bag of chips.
Go on a street art hunt in Waterford
The Waterford Walls project began a few years ago in an effort to reinvigorate the city, and some dazzling street art has come as a result. An amazing way to spend an afternoon (and completely free). The perfect way to bank some great Instagram posts too.
Cycle through Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
Grab your bikes and have a leisurely bike ride through the park. Deer spotting, picnics and cricket watching are all lovely stop-offs.
Pizza at DiFontaines (then sitting in Temple Bar Square), Dublin 2
All manner of Dublin life passes through Temple Bar Square, so to sit and watch it all with a slice of the best pizza is a perfect cheap date.
The Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
The Botanic Gardens are one of the most beautiful settings for a romantic walk in Dublin, it’s completely free to enter. Go and smell the roses.
The Cobblestone, Smithfield, Dublin 7
The Cobblestone describes itself as a drinking pub with a music problem. Staying for one pint won’t cost you much, and you can get the chance to watch some of the best trad musicians in the city play a session for your entertainment.
A Farmer’s Market (Various locations)
Wandering through stalls full of fresh produce and chatting to the growers is a lovely date in itself, but heading home afterwards to cook up a meal is the perfect way to finish it off.
Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Kilmainham, Dublin 8
If art and history is your thing, there are so many free or cheap options to choose from around the country. The Irish Museum of Modern Art is a favourite, check their website to see what’s on.
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