Picnic with a view
Clara Clarke got the idea for Grá Picnics from companies she saw doing similar things in the desert when she lived in the Middle East for seven years. When she lost her job in the hospitality industry due to the Covid-19 crisis, she began offering her luxury picnic packages, delivered to scenic locations in Co Clare on the Wild Atlantic Way.
The most popular location is Guerin’s Path, overlooking the Cliffs of Moher, but you can choose any location you like and Clarke will set her stylish picnic up for you there before you arrive. Two hours later she returns to pack everything away again.
Grá picnics start at €55 per person and for that you can choose a grazing platter, a selection of Co Clare artisan treats including cheeses, oysters and salmon, or afternoon tea, served with a bottle of non-alcoholic Prosecco. Champagne upgrades are available. See grapicnics.com
Picnic in the Park
Helen Cunningham and Scott Holder, the mother and son who run the Phoenix Cafe at the Visitors' Centre in Dublin's Phoenix Park, have been offering picnics in the park all summer, and they have proved to be so popular they plan to continue them year-round. The picnic boxes include sandwiches, scones, chocolate brownies, elderflower lemonade and tea or coffee (€16.50 per person). There are also vegan and children's picnics, and you could time your feast to follow an outdoor yoga in the park session. Book online in advance at picnicinthepark.ie and yogainthepark.ie.
Frank's, the Camden Street wine bar that is Delahunt restaurant's little sibling, is offering picnic boxes packed with snacks to accompany its extensive wine list. You can pick any bottle from the shelves and add €15 corkage, or select from a list by the glass. An additional €20 gets you a selection of cheese, charcuterie and snacks to share. The contents change weekly, but a recent box included Jordan's Bombay mix, trout rillette, Coppa, Boyne Valley Blue, 12 month Comte, sourdough, crackers, rhubarb chutney, homemade pickles and a Refresher bar for a bit of nostalgia. The picnic is avilable for sit-in and take-away Thursday-Saturday from 3pm. There are only 10 seats at Frank's communal table now, and places have to be prebooked at exploretock.com/franksdublin.
Picnic at a castle
Ballynahinch Castle in Co Galway has a full menu of picnic options that are available to non-residents as well as those staying in the hotel. You can choose from a wine and cheese hamper to enjoy anywhere in the grounds (€50 for two people) or an exploration picnic with sandwiches, soup, fruit, scones, cookies and drinks all packed up in a bicycle basket of rucksack (€25 per person). The walled garden picnic has a few more culinary treats, and a picnic rug, playing cards and a bluetooth speaker included (€40 per person). Or you can go all out with the "Perfect Picnic", set up in a private gazebo with a table and chairs, champagne and lots of lovely food, plus a selection of garden games (€240 for two). Picnics must be booked in advance by telephone: 095-31006. See ballynahinch-castle.com.
Picnic in the sky
The Radisson Blu Royal in Dublin 8 is offering a Picnic in the Sky package that includes an overnight stay with breakfast, and an al fresco picnic in the hotel's Dyflin Garden, an elevated landscaped terrace. You can order a cocktail made with herbs grown in the terrace as an optional extra. The overnight package costs from €205 per room per night. See radissonblu.com/royalhotel-dublin.
Picnic at the Manor
You've got to be a hotel resident at Adare Manor in Co Limerick to book one of its three picnic options. But if you're feeling flush, the "Beyond Everything Picnic" comes with a personal picnic butler who will set up a table for two anywhere on the grounds of the resort. Champagne and caviar served with blinis set the tone for an opulent feast that will set you back €300 per person (and no, that doesn't come with a room). There are also less decadent picnic options, costing €30, and €50. See adaremanor.com.
Picnic in the Green
Balfe’s brasserie at the Westbury hotel off Grafton Street in Dublin 2 can set you up with a pretty picnic hamper to enjoy in St Stephen’s Green. The baskets contain charcuterie and cheese, superfood salads, desserts and your choice of drink. They start at €60, and must be ordered 24-hours in advance by telephoning 01-6463353. You can collect your picnic between 12.30pm and 5pm, and no, the bicycle is not included.