Ten great places to eat in the sunshine

As summer finally beckons, here's our pick of places to dine al fresco


After an eight month winter a forecast with the words “sunshine” and “Bank Holiday” in the same sentence has been issued. And so a huddled people emerge blinking into the sunlight. Cans will be carried to canal banks. Factor 50 will be applied to wriggling children white as grubs. Hammocks will be hung and last year’s barbecue grease tackled by an army of women before burgers are recklessly undercooked by a battalion of men. As Ireland goes al fresco here’s our pick of 10 (well okay 11) of the best places to eat outside and make the most of the sunshine.

1. The Marker, Dublin 2

They won’t be serving a full menu in the rooftop bar of this docklands hotel until June but you can order a sharing board while enjoying the thrill of a massive Dublin sky on the sea side of the city.

What to eat? Small sharing boards of meat, cheese and bowls of dips.

What to drink? A Watermelon Martini, something from the Gin and Tonic menu or a Virgin Mojito for non-drinkers.

The Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square, Docklands, Dublin 2, (01) 687 5100. Open from 7pm Friday, 5pm Saturday and 3pm Sunday.

2. Kennedy’s, Dublin 7

My friend Sarah Kennedy has just opened a terrace at the back of her small friendly cafe with a retractable roof and the seats have quickly become the most popular in-house. For the moment the wifi hasn’t fully reached outside yet so it’s a small digital detox in the sun.

What to eat? The BLT twist, maple cured bacon with avocado, tomato and sumac mayo or a veggie feast with buffalo mozzarella and roast carrot hummus. Follow with a house made coconut and raspberry scone.

What to drink? Pomegranate and raspberry pressé or an Irish fruit smoothie

Kennedy’s, 166 Phibsboro Road, Dublin 7, (01) 850 0867

3. Suesey Street, Dublin 2

Entirely hidden from the street the courtyard behind the basement restaurant Suesey Street is a secret place for a proper outdoor lunch. This month they’re putting on an asparagus menu in homage to Irish-grown asparagus sourced from Rush, Co Dublin.

What to eat? Asparagus all the way or if that’s not your thing there’s a summer salad with courgettes, broadbeans, rice noodles, toasted seeds with a tahini and mint dressing. It’s vegan but you can add chicken.

What to drink? Manager John Healy recommends the Tanqueray gin with passion fruit, orange bitters and dehydrated orange

Suesey Street, 26 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, (01) 669 4600

4. Eatyard, Dublin 8

The Eatyard outdoor food market on South Richmond St

Fans of this courtyard of street food stalls and caravans will eat in the yard in all weathers but they get a big crowd when the sun shines. There aren’t many seats so if you get one hang on tight.

What to eat? In homage to famous vegetarian George Bernard Shaw try Vish Shop, Mark Senn of Veginity’s take on plant based fish and chips. The battered “vish” is made from cassava and seaweed. Or forget GBS with a burger from Box Burger.

What to drink? Anything from the bar of the George Bernard Shaw

Eatyard, Richmond Street South, Dublin 8, (01) 906 0218

5. Glebe Gardens, Baltimore, west Cork

Glebe Gardens, Baltimore, West Cork

They have nine tables in the garden and three on the veranda at Glebe Gardens in the West Cork village of Baltimore, where some of what you eat will have been grown. Eating in a garden makes everything taste better. Eating in a sunny garden is pure pleasure.

What to eat? A Baltimore burger, Walsh’s beef with herbs and spices, cucumber pickle and sweet chilli mayonnaise. Chefs Tessa Perry and Grace O’Sullivan also make a creamy crab and tomato tart and a summery courgette and basil quiche.

What to drink? Prosecco and elderflower. Later in the summer the elderflower will be from their own house-made supply.

Glebe Gardens, Baltimore, west Cork, (028) 20579

6. Happy Out, Clontarf, and Container Coffee, Thomas Street

Happy Out, Clontarf

Both these shipping containers have more outside space than in. Happy Out is over the wooden bridge on Bull Island surrounded by a deck with picnic tables and a panorama of Dublin bay. Container Coffee is on a street but there’s a lovely large yard out back and all coffees cost €1 this Saturday to celebrate their first birthday. Both offer a 10 per cent discount to anyone using a reusable cup.

What to eat? In Happy Out any of their toasties on Tartine sourdough bread. In Container Coffee a bacon and Ballymaloe relish sausage roll.

What to drink? Iced coffee in Happy Out. Those €1 bargain brews in Container Coffee.

Happy Out, Bull Wall, Bull Island, Clontarf, (086) 154 7053. Container Coffee, 161 Thomas St, Dublin 8

7. O’Grady’s on the Pier, Barna, Co Galway

There’s a small terrace to one side of O’Grady’s pub and a small number of very lucky people will get to sit and watch the sun go down over Galway Bay, looking out to the Burren – one of the loveliest views in the country.

What to eat? Killary Mussels or butter fried plaice with floury spuds

What to drink? A pint. Of Guinness.

O’Grady’s on the Pier, Seapoint, Barna, Co Galway, (091) 592 223

8. The Courtyard at Sage, Midleton, Co Cork

The outdoor tables in chef Kevin Aherne’s lovely courtyard are under a lean-to and equipped for chilly weather but should come into their own this weekend. Like the sister restaurant Sage, the Greenroom cafe menu sources food from farmers growing and producing food within a 12 mile radius of the cafe.

What to eat? Greenroom Tacos, spicy Woodside Farm free range pork served with chilli jam, cheese and coriander.

What to drink? A cold Fox’s Rock IPA on tap

The Courtyard, 8 Main Street, Midleton, Co Cork, (021) 4639682

9. The Duck Terrace Restaurant and Cafe, Gorey, Co Wexford

The Duck Terrace Restaurant and Cafe, Gorey, Co Wexford
The Duck Terrace Restaurant and Cafe, Gorey, Co Wexford

They don’t take reservations for the outdoor tables in The Duck but there are 13 of them, some of them set up for larger groups so it’s first come first get. The tables overlook the kitchen gardens where some of what you’re eating has been grown.

What to eat? A tostado or flat bread with fresh crab, lime and chilli, mango and cucumber salad or a kitchen garden sharing board of dips.

What to drink? The Not so Ugly cocktail featuring Hendricks gin and Limoncello, “really refreshing on a nice day.”

Marlfield House Hotel and Restaurant, Courtown Road, Gorey, Co Wexford, (053) 942 1124

10. The Woollen Mills, Dublin 1

With 60 seats on their terrace The Woollen Mills has one of the largest outdoor eating areas in the city centre. And at one floor up it’s nicely removed from the madding crowd.

What to eat: Half a dozen Sligo native or Dungarvan Hartys oysters with lemon and pickled spaghetti seaweed, a black pudding scotch egg with asparagus and horseradish hollandaise or boxty with grilled mushroom, Kearney blue cheese and red onion jam.

What to drink? A cocktail of gin, nettle and thyme or an apple beet, carrot and ginger cold pressed juice

The Woollen Mills, 42 Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin 1, (01) 828 0835

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