Everyone tends to go a bit mad when the sun comes out and then there's a stampede for outdoor perches. No need to panic, there's actually a good breadth of choice when it comes to having a civlised meal al fresco these days. Here are our favourites.
Dublin's IFSC may not immediately spring to mind as one of Dublin's prettier dining areas, but lunch overlooking George's Dock, will destroy your preconceptions. Big city feel, good grub and a nice mix of people to watch from Facebookers to tourists, 01 672 0010; elywinebar.ie
Never underestimate the value of a retractable roof. One minute you're enjoying your seared tuna and imagining yourself on the Continent, the next minute you're grabbing for a mac and using your sunglasses as a hail guard...unless that is, you happen to be sitting smugly in the back bit of the Rezzy. - You'll hardly notice the fifteen changes in climate during the course of your lunch; manning the controls must be a full time job. residence.ie
Skip off to Wicklow for the afternoon and mooch along the well-tended paths before a big Avoca feed in the courtyard. It's self-service but it's got birdsong, the scent of roses in the air and quick turnover so even if you have to wait a while, it won't be long.
Book ahead to secure one of the tables outside - Meeting House Square is as close as Dublin gets to a Piazza. And this is about as yummy a proper meal as you could get while cultivating your sunburn.
Choose a weird time to go if you heart's set on one of the half dozen tables at either of these sister restaurants in Beggars Bush. In typical Irish fashion, the blankets they provide are often put to good use on the best days; we also appreciate them on days when we really should be inside by a fire.
As proper terraces go, this one's hard to beat. The view's unreal- and the clinking of boat riggings will be music to anyone's ears. Hop off the DART at Dun Laoghaire and hit our local for the mussels du jour (the Thai broth version, heavy on coriander, is a house favourite) or parmesan-crusted haddock.
The fact you have to navigate down a steep flight of steps to the basement patio doesn't seem to deter the pram brigade so the terrace can get a little clogged with four wheelers but if you'd rather stay close to the kitchen rather than take away to Stephens Green opposite, it's worth the convivial squeeze.
Granted, it's mainly about the cocktails, and there's certainly no harm in that- but you can also grab a signature flatbread (go with the truffle oil and carpaccio) here on the weekends and that's a meal you won't forget.