With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, everyone tends to focus on the saint’s connection with Dublin. Whitefriar Church contains one of his relics. So it is a definite must-see if you are taking a honeymoon or romantic break in Dublin. But that isn’t the only romantic spot in the city; indeed it isn’t really the most romantic location. If you and your sweetheart are planning a trip to Dublin, you won’t want to miss these romantic highlights.
- The Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin offer gorgeous backdrop for your romantic stroll with large, stunning glass houses to duck into if it rains. Examine the plants from around the world and pop into the café for a treat. This isn’t the spot for an elaborate proposal, however. Food and music aren’t allowed in the gardens, so scratch that romantic picnic with a string quartet playing your song. You could even visit the nearby Glasnevin Cemetery to see the graves of the patriots. You’ll find a couple of very moving gravestones in the front section. If you read carefully, you’ll discover love stories condensed to a couple of sometimes cryptic lines. They offer daily public tours too.
- In the heart of the city, Temple Bar’s Love Lane makes its feelings crystal clear. The walls of this narrow lane feature quotes and verses about love. This tiny, artistic laneway is near the famous Olympic Theatre. It’s like stepping into a Valentine’s Day card. While you are walking through, peruse the words on the walls and find some that speak directly to your heart.
- Kilmainham Gaol is not an obvious romantic spot. But if you have a weakness for tragic love stories, bring plenty of tissues. You can visit the prison chapel where Joseph Plunkett married his beloved Grace Gifford just hours before he was executed for his role in the 1916 Uprising. The only witnesses to the candlelight ceremony were two soldiers, and the couple were not allowed to speak except to say their vows. The jail is intense, sad and deeply moving. After a visit there, it’s nice to see the nearby Museum of Modern Art next and enjoy the freedom of the delightful garden and spacious courtyard. Their café is cozy spot for a casual, romantic lunch.
- You don’t have read Ulysses to appreciate the romance of Howth Head. This delightful spot is on the coast just north of Dublin City. In James Joyce’s often celebrated but seldom understood novel, the protagonist Leopold Bloom proposes to Molly. Take a quick boat ride over the Ireland’s Eye island for a quiet walk hand in hand and a beautiful view of the sea.
- Tucked away in the bustle of Dublin city center hides the Iveagh Gardens. Nicknamed Dublin’s Secret Garden, this oasis features delightful fountains, a yew maze and arguably the most romantic rose garden on earth. (It’s a fantastic place to propose on a summer day.) Relaxing on a bench here, it’s more than easy to lose track of the hour. It’s easy to lose track of what century it is. This is one of those magic places where time feels irrelevant.
Dublin is seriously underrated as a romantic destination, but it is full of hidden treasures. In winter, you can take your pick of cozy pubs where you can find a roaring fire and a quiet corner. In summer, you can wander through lovely city parks such as St. Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square and watch the ducks as you enjoy a picnic. No one with any knowledge of Irish literature could doubt our romantic streak!