Every year I try to do a Valentine’s day blog post, if only because my name IS Valentine, so here is my 2016 little guide on Valentine things to do in Dublin and Ireland, from special events to go to with your special one, to Valentine’s Day for singles, families and charities, because “love is all around us” and Valentine’s Day is for all.
Fall In Love With Dublin
James Joyce once wrote “When I die, Dublin will be written in my heart”. Fall (back) in love with Dublin this Valentine’s Day – this is after all the final resting place of the patron saint of love. Here are some romantic, and not at all saccharine things to do in Dublin, even on your own, on a random day in February.
💜 Break into secret locked gardens à la Notting Hill (Fitzwilliam Square Private Gardens in Dublin City Centre and the lovely Crossthwaite Park, Dun Laoghaire come to mind). Not that I’m supporting vandalism …
💜 Read a love letter or two in the city’s most beautiful and romantic libraries, conveniently minutes from each other and both vying to the prize of most inspiring reading room in the city: The National Library and The Trinity Long Room.
💜 Go to the Valentine’s Day French chamber music lunchtime concert in the sumptuous Hugh Lane Gallery, a romantic location any time of the year
💜 Visit the saint himself at the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church. Whether you’re looking for love, celebrating love or cursing love, this is a peaceful place to visit.
💜 Have a hot cup of chocolate on the Dylan hotel terrace at the end of a city walk. Even if it’s freezing out there, just try it!
With Your One and Only
“The course of true love never did run smooth”, which is why – we are told – we need an annual reminder to rekindle and celebrate love, and everything that comes with it … chocolate, sexy lingerie, romantic getaways, expensive gifts… All cynicism and circumspection aside, here are some things to do on Valentine’s Day that will appeal to all of thee who want to go beyond the traditional bunch of flowers and restaurant dinner.
Dublin is jam-packed with romantic restaurants but I’ve picked two of my favourites places that will guarantee a Valentine’s evening that is quiet, romantic and a bit out of the ordinary. Also, the food is extraordinary…
💜 Have a romantic dinner in The Mulberry Garden. This discreet little place in Donnybrook, away from the hustle and bustle of the noisy city centre is just the place for a candlit dinner.
💜 Take in the views and sip a rich red on Dublin’s canal cruising restaurant La Peniche.
💜 No time for dinner or on a budget this year? Share a little French pastry in Chez Max Epicerie on Baggot Street (after breaking into that said private garden in Fitzwilliam Square round the corner…).
💜 Pop the question in Iveagh Gardens. Including you, ladies! This is a leap year, in case you’ve forgotten, so no excuse.
💜 Have a holiday-feel outing in Dun Laoghaire. Stroll along either pier – another most romantic spot in Co. Dublin, have a Teddy’s icecream, whisper sweet nothings into his/her hear while watching the boats sail by…
💜 Decided to stay in? Cook a romantic dinner, eschew the silly romantic comedies on Netflix, and watch these sinfully delicious chocolaty little movie affairs.
Hey, don’t forget the kids. This little love holiday is for all the family. Unsurprisingly, not many romantic events for kids, but I’ve found a couple of creative ideas to get the little ones interested in the mysteries of the human heart.
💜 Teach them how to say “I Love You” at this Instituto Cervantes Dublin workshop for children.
💜 Have a family love-in day with these crafty ideas.
💜 Find those loveheart cookie cutters and start baking.
“Love Is All Around Us …
… C’mon and let it show!” You don’t need to listed to schmaltzy tunes to realise that Valentine’s Day is also about the love for your fellow men, your beloved pets and your community. Show you care by visiting a nursing home, volunteer to work with disadvantaged kids, call someone in difficulty go to this Valentine’s Ball in support of Childline or help out at an animal shelter.