If you always thought Paris was the most romantic city in the world, you might want to think again. St. Valentine is the patron saint of the loved-up everywhere, and his final resting place is in a completely different European capital – Dublin. So why not make a date in Ireland’s capital and spend a night or a weekend in a hotel in Dublin for a truly unforgettable Valentine’s celebration in 2013?
St Valentine’s Walks
Impress your loved one with your knowledge of the patron saint of all things romantic with a special Saint Valentine’s walk led by Pat Liddy through the streets of Dublin. Starting at 11am and 2.30pm outside the Tours and Tickets Office at 37 College Green (opposite Trinity College), these walks take you to Whitefriar St Church, the final resting place of St. Valentine and the ultimate destination for starry-eyed couples everywhere. During the day, St Valentine will be celebrated through special programmes of choral music at the church. Along the way, you will hear about famous Dublin citizens and their romantic entanglements.
A Date With Dublin
Temple Bar Cultural Trust has been busy thinking up a whole programme of events to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the capital, called “A Date With Dublin.” From 12 noon until 12 midnight on February 14th, cultural organisations across the city will feel the love, with a timetable of affordable and free events that promise great fun. Most events are free, but some require booking in advance.
Attend the world premiere of Sean Drawn’s graphic novel Cupid’s Last Arrows in the Exchange Dublin and have your caricature drawn from 12pm; fall in love with your ideal book match at The Gutter Bookshop’s book speed dating, where the book experts will match you with your ideal book from 6.30pm. Or make your way to the Gallery of Photography from 1pm to capture your romance with a vintage-style photo portrait, which will then be shown during a special Valentine’s night screening in Meeting House Square.
After lunch (make it oysters in honour of the day!), head to the National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square, for a special tour of romantic imagery at 2pm. On the other side of town at 3pm, art lovers will get a free Valentine’s Day tour of the Francis Bacon studio at Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane on Parnell Square.
As night falls, the temperature rises with the outdoor dinner and movie experience starting at 6.30pm in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar. Sheltered by beautifully illuminated umbrellas, Meeting House Square will be transformed into an atmospheric haven filled with couches and bean bags for a showing of one of the most romantic films of all time – Casablanca.
Woo at The Zoo
Cupid’s arrows fall among our feathered and furry friends too: Celebrate “Woo at the Zoo” on 11th and 12th February for a perfect Valentine’s date for couples of all ages. Monkeys, wolves, tigers, and snow leopards are all getting hot and bothered despite the wintry temperatures. Take a trip to Dublin Zoo and listen to one of the special keeper talks on breeding, courtship, and the exotic romantic rituals of a range of different creatures.
Music of the Heart
For the classiest Valentine’s night in town, book tickets to see the smouldering Ute Lemper perform with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at the National Concert Hall on 14 February. Her cabaret performances have been described by the Irish Independent as “an electrifying storm,” so if her concert does not raise the temperature of your Valentine’s celebrations, nothing will!
You can cosy up for all the movie screenings and walks and concerts you like, but if you don’t get your hotel right this Valentine’s, you can kiss your romance goodbye. Fortunately, for February 14th and the entire Valentine’s weekend, hotels in Dublin are pulling out all the stops to make this a special occasion for you and the one you love. You and your beloved can take a break at a Dublin hotel right in the heart of the city for just €74.50 per person sharing for two nights bed and breakfast. Which goes to show, you can make that grand romantic gesture without destroying your budget.
Get Out of Town
Escape the city for some quiet time with the one you love. Dublin may be a cosmopolitan capital city, but it offers some pretty spectacular scenery right on its doorstep – perfect for getting away from it all, especially if you want to ask somebody an important question… Whether you want to weave a romantic spell up the Wicklow mountains or stroll in the sand in the Skerries, car hire in Dublin gives you the freedom to create your own Valentine’s getaway.