Seven stunning picnics for the summer of outdoor eating

Preparing picnics can take the joy out of them, so let someone else do the hard work

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.

Business has been brisk since she launched the venture last summer and Clarke has added bridal shower picnics, psychic reading picnics and morning meditation breakfasts to her offering. On weekdays, 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. At weekends, the picnic location is at Guerin’s Path at the Cliffs of Moher, where Clarke also has a coffee trailer selling hot drinks and snacks.

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 with a handy table

There's an added bonus if you book a picnic from 64Wine in Glasthule, Co Dublin. As well as being able to pick a lovely bottle of wine from the shops's well-stocked shelves, you get to road test the must-have outdoor living accessory of the summer – the portable picnic table by Flying Elephant. Picnics must be prebooked and are available Fridays and Saturdays. The basket has charcuterie, snacks, salads, spreads, bread and desserts, all made by the shop and cafe's new chef, Balazs Rakamazi. The cost is €49-€69 depending on contents. 64wine.ie

Picnic in the countryside

The gardens at Cliff at Lyons in Celbridge, Co Kildare are absolutely stunning, and if you book a Pantry Picnic from the onsite gifts, snacks and provisions shop, you can enjoy it anywhere on the grounds. You might even get a sneak peek at the Aimsir restaurant kitchen gardens and new eco-farm. The Pantry Picnic costs €65, and as well as a generous feast for two, it includes the picnic hamper which you get to keep. They will be available from later this month and need to be booked 24 hours in advance of collection. cliffatlyons.ie

Picnic Mexican style

Escape to Mexico, or at least get within sight of an airport and do some trainspotting, with the Takeaway Taco Box from Cork International Hotel. A nice change from standard picnic fare, the taco box has tortillas with piri piri chicken, peppered featherblade, barbecued pork, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. It is available to order seven days a week and costs €35, to serve two. corkinternationalairporthotel.com

Picnic for a good cause

New catering company Lily & Wild, set up by Kevin and Davina Walsh, is doing very fancy takeaway picnics from a Citroen van parked at Naas Racecourse, weekends only. For the month of May, profits from the picnics will be donated to Breast Cancer Ireland. Salads, charcuterie, crudites and dips, cheese and desserts are on the menu and the picnics cost €25 per person. Vegetarian and vegan options are available and there is also a children's picnic for €10. The picnics come in a reusable cooler bag but you can also buy a four-person picnic basket for an additional €55. lilyandwild.ie

Picnic in the city

Let the counter staff at Fallon & Byrne in Dublin do the work and pack you a ready-to-go picnic of charcuterie and cheeses, pâté and bread, and cheesecake for dessert, in one of its attractive jute shopping bags. It costs €55 for two people, with prosecco, or €45 with pink lemonade or apple juice. Order in advance for click and collect from Fallon & Byrne in either Exchequer Street or People's Park in Dún Laoghaire. fallonandbyrne.com

Picnic and an overnight stay

Hotels are reopening and that’s great news. But not everyone is entirely comfortable eating in communal dining rooms, just yet. So, B&B, plus a picnic, is the new overnight deal. Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara, the Kingsley in Cork and the K Club in Kildare are among the hotels offering picnic meals to residents.

You can also book a night at Adare Manor (€725) and add on a picnic, from €30 per person. However, if you really want to make it an occasion to remember, the hotel's Beyond Everything Picnic comes complete with picnic butler who will set up a table for two anywhere on the grounds of the resort and serve champagne and caviar, Irish cheeses and cold meats, Galway oysters with shallot vinaigrette and dessert menu complete with macaron tower. This must be ordered 24 hours ahead of arrival and costs a hefty €300 per person. adaremanor.com

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