5 booze-free date ideas for lockdown love

Five great dates in Dublin City for folks who prefer to perform their mating ritual without the aid of beer googles.


An ice cream in St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, above

Meet at Gino’s on Grafton Street for some gelato. Judge your date silently, but relentlessly, over their choice of ice cream flavour. Stroll on over to Dublin’s bijou answer to Central Park, St Stephen’s Green.


Depending on the time of year, you can either tip-toe through the tulips, admire the changing colours of the leaves, or as is currently the case, revel in its late summer scents, sights and sounds. Conversation starters (hopefully!): the park was only opened to the public in 1880 and was designed by William Sheppard, previous to this great civic act, the space was the exclusive domain of the wealthy elite who owned the plots around it. Point of interest: the northwest corner of the park is home to a garden for the visually-impaired with scented plants, which can withstand handling, and are labelled in Braille.


Cocktails and chats at The Virgin Mary, Capel Street

Immaculately conceived, The Virgin Mary on Dublin’s pleasingly-unpretentious Capel Street has been ticking alcohol-free boxes for urbane on-the-wagoners for more than a year.

A self-described “sobar”, the cosy space is a welcoming destination for booze-free drinks and getting-to-know-you chats. A generous menu, combining select beers and ciders, as well as non-alcoholic but flavourful, sophisticated cocktails means that there is plenty to keep the conversation flowing.



Coffee at The National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin

Pick up a well-made coffee at McMahon's of Botanic Avenue around the corner and then take a stroll through Dublin's horticultural heartland, where a one-way system allows one to meander safely and leisurely, taking in the most impressive array of flora the city has to offer.

Slightly morbid (but perhaps your date is a Goth), the gardens sidle up against the city's ultimate necropolis, Glasnevin Cemetery, accessible via a gate on the southern perimeter of the Gardens so if the fabulous flora is not doing it, then a tour of the graveyard is good yin to that yang.


Awesome Walls, Dublin; Cork


Show off your physical prowess, not to mention your rockin' bod' (not essential, you're lovely just the way you are), a climbing wall date is a good way to feel completely engrossed in a mutual activity, while still wearing clothes.

This is also good option if you aren't the greatest conversationalist in the world with someone you have literally just met. If you're new to this kind of activity, the place to start is the Taster Session. Book for an hour with an instructor and you’ll be taught all the essentials in using the centre and climbing for fun.


Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park

"Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo ..." Messrs Simon & Garfunkel may have been over-egging the pudding slightly with regard to how fantastic the zoological gardens actually are, however, they were certainly onto something when it comes to interesting date destinations with plenty of interesting distraction.

These days, advance booking is essential so don't forget to make the reservation ... there's a pun in there somewhere ... Adult tickets are €17.75 apiece starting at 9.30am with the last slot at 3pm.


Afterwards, if you've clicked, a stroll back into town via the park is an addition to the date.


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