Dates in Dublin don’t have to be half-hour visits to Ha’Penny Bridge or a trip to the pub — this city has so much to offer. Similarly, a perfect date doesn’t have to be expensive and you can easily enjoy a day out with your other half without breaking the bank. That said, some experiences really are worth paying for and will leave you with amazing memories to share.
1. Go kayaking with seals in Dalkey
Yes, you can kayak with seals! And all you need to do is hop on the DART to Dalkey. You can’t cuddle in the kayak but you can delight at the little seal faces popping up from underneath the water, while their blubbery brothers and sisters chill on the rocks.
The tour lasts around 3 hours and, when it’s over, you can chat about it at one of the lovely restaurants in Dalkey. The fee is €55 per person and it’s something every Dubliner needs to do at least once in their life.
2. Float around in the Irish Sea at Forty Foot
The Forty Foot was named one of the best outdoor swimming spots in the world by The New York Post, and it’s easy to see why. This perfect date spot was made famous by James Joyce’s Ulysses, whose main character takes a dip here.
Sidle up to your loved one (or the person you kinda like) after a dive into the Irish Sea. Alternatively, you can wade in at the bottom of the steps that lead down to the sea and float around with your S.O. You can even try to impress with your swimming prowess, if you think that might work. The James Joyce Museum is just a short walk away and there are loads of places nearby to warm up after your dip into the blue.
3. Feel really fancy on a trip to the grandiose Dublin Castle
You may have been to Dublin Castle before, but trust us when we say that there’s loads more to see here. The State Apartments are magnificent and, if you visit, you can pretend that you’re being inaugurated as President of Ireland.
If you like to live in the real world then you can just wander around and admire the ornate decoration. The Medieval Undercroft is less romantic but pretty fascinating, and a trip to the Royal Chapel will make you feel like you’re on a film set.
The architecture is incredibly impressive and, although it’s all inspired by a different kind of devotion, there is an undeniable romance about it all. Eat at a grandiose restaurant afterwards and you can feel fancy all day.
4. Go for a romantic stroll (or rather, challenging hike…)
Dublin has some beautiful mountains and coastlines right on its doorstep, so you’re never too far from a heavenly hike and the perfect date. Head out to the Wicklow Mountains and around the Glendalough Spinc Trail for breathtaking views, or tackle the Howth Cliff Walk, which boasts secret beaches that were made for romantic picnics. Check out our guide to the best walks in and around Dublin, all within an hour from the city.
5. Explore the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin
Poets for time immemorial have waxed lyrical about the romance of beautiful flowers and The Botanic Gardens are the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon with someone special. Entry is completely free and if you bring a picnic, that makes it even cheaper.
Even skint people can enjoy a romantic day out here! Alternatively, there are loads of restaurants around in Glasnevin serving delicious food to enjoy after a stroll in the gardens.
6. Feed the deer at Phoenix Park
Let’s be real, if you go to Phoenix Park then you’re going to want to feed the deer. The park was originally a hunting area, which is why there are fallow deer running around a park just outside of Dublin centre.
However, this isn’t the only element of Phoenix Park that makes it such an attractive place to visit. You can hire bikes and mooch around the park — and, for the most date-appropriate cycle, we recommend hiring a tandem.
The park is massive so there’s plenty to see, including Áras an Uachtaráin, the home and workplace of the President of Ireland; the flower gardens; the Glen Pond; Dublin Zoo; and the lovely People’s Garden.