Ah, Ireland. You sure do know how to make a gal lose her tan…
Ok, so obviously Ireland is not exactly known for having the best weather.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the cold and rainy. But it does definitely gets old. I mean….it hailed in June. That just ain’t right. So although I do love the chilly weather, after a while of that one can’t help but wonder when the sun will finally decide to grace us with its presence.
One thing I love about being somewhere with finicky weather is that when it’s sunny, people REALLY appreciate and take advantage of it. A sunny day is
rare special here. The parks will be packed, the trains will be full with people heading to the coast, and there’s just a happy energy in the air.
Dublin comes alive on a sunny day. It’s just the absolute best. So when the sun creeps out from behind the grey clouds, demanding its presence to be known and enjoyed, there are so many things to do around Dublin to take full advantage of it. So basically, there’s nothing better than a sunny day in Dublin.
Here are my personal recommendations of the BEST things to do in Dublin on a beautiful, sunny day!
1. Pack a picnic and have lunch in St. Stephen’s Green.
This beautiful park in the city centre is such a great spot on a sunny day. You could pack a picnic (or grab some delicious frozen yogurt from the nearby Yogism), bring a book, lay out, wander the gardens, feed the ducks, people watch…or do it all! You could spend a whole day there on a beautiful day. I for one have accidentally fallen asleep on my little spot of grass numerous times. But it always makes for a relaxing and peaceful afternoon in the sun!
2. Visit the Dublin Zoo.
Ok you guys. The Dublin Zoo is INCREDIBLE. I’ve never been to a zoo quite like it. It’s located on 69 acres (IT’S HUGE) in Phoenix Park, right in the heart of Dublin. They have so many cool animals like giraffes, zebras, gorillas, Asian elephants, tons of monkeys, flamingos, farm animals, snakes, PENGUINS (!!!!) etc. The one thing it was missing was panda bears, my all-time favorite animal. (They had red pandas, but those just aren’t the same.) If possible, try going on a weekday as it’ll be less crowded. Even so, I went on a Saturday and it really wasn’t miserably packed. And it was during the summer! Check out more about the zoo here.
3. Walk around Temple Bar and check out all the fantastic street art.
I sometimes forget how lucky I am to live where I live. I live in Temple Bar, the heart of Dublin. Sure, at night it’s packed with drunk tourists, but I absolutely love it during the day. There’s sometimes markets, beautiful pubs, street performers, and amazing street art. I’m a huge fan of street art and graffiti, so I love to wander around and check out all the painted building exteriors. If it’s a sunny day, Temple Bar is absolutely radiant. There’s a good chance that there will even be a mini-market set up on the main square selling art, used books, posters, etc!
4. Take a train to Howth and walk along the cliffs.
This is definitely on the list of the days in Dublin since I’ve been here! The reason for that is because it was very unexpected. I had heard about the Howth cliffs, but I thought it was more of a leisurly walk. Turns out it was a lot more a hike, and a whole lot more beautiful than I was expecting. The scenery was absolutely amazing, and it was so nice to get out of the city and breathe the fresh air. The best part is, it’s only 20 minutes on the DART train and a round trip day pass only costs €6!
5. Head to the beach!
Now, if you’re expecting white sand and clear water like the beaches of Spain, the Carribbean, or even Florida, you’ll be disappointed. But Irish beaches have a beauty of their own, and there’s so many to choose from on the DART line from the city centre! (Ireland is an island, after all…) Howth, Bray, Killiney, Skerries, Greystones, Portmarnock, Portray, and Sandymount are just some of the areas with beaches a short train/DART ride from the city centre. When it’s sunny outside, you’re guaranteed to see the trains full of people in swimwear heading out to get their Irish tan on!
6. Take an hour-long train from Dublin and hike the Wicklow Way.
Again, going on any sort of hike on a sunny day in Ireland is an absolute must. There are many trails to choose from, but I chose to walk a section of the Wicklow Way from Glenmalure to Glendalough, because it was short enough to complete in a day but long enough to take all day. The train from the city centre to Rathdrum, where we got picked up and brought to the start of the trail, was about an hour, and cost about €15 roundtrip. We packed a lunch and spent the whole day in the mountains. We even got sunburnt (a rarity in Ireland)!
7. Go for a walk/jog/cycle in Phoenix Park.
Besides going to the Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park on a gorgeous day (see #2), simply walking through Phoenix Park is entertainment enough during beautiful weather. And best part…it’s FREE! Whether you decide to run, jog, cycle, skate, walk…there’s so much to see! It is the largest enclosed park in Europe, after all. Horses running on polo fields, people picnicking near the Wellington Monument or the Papal Cross, deer roaming and grazing freely near the forested areas, families strolling through the gardens, people snapping pictures of the President’s house…these are just some of the sights you’ll see when wandering around this enormous park!
8. Stroll around Trinity College.
Not only is Trinity College an important historical monument of Dublin, being the oldest university in Ireland, but it also just so happens to be beautiful! A stroll admiring the 18th century buildings and even lounging on the green is a perfect activity for a beautiful day in the city! Also be sure to check out the Trinity Library, Trinity’s most popular attraction and my personal favourite part of the whole college!
9. Browse the Open Air Art Market at Merrion Square.
And while you’re there, make sure to check out the surrounding Georgian doors (a Dublin staple), and the famous Oscar Wilde Statue! Merrion Square is in the heart of Dublin, and on Sundays when over 200 artists hang their work on the railings of the square, the scene becomes illuminated with beautiful art and tons of eager buyers.
10. Go to a sporting event!
Whether it’s football or rugby at the Aviva Stadium, or gaelic football or hurling at Croke Park, the Irish LOVE their sports and games are an all-day affair, rain or shine. BUT it’s definitely a lot better if it’s the latter. Pop around pubs in the area for a drink and friendly banter before heading into the stadium for the big game. No better way to enjoy beautiful weather than sitting under the gorgeous Irish sun watching the game in an electric and exciting atmosphere.