Sunny weekend: an hour-by-hour guide to making the most of it

High pressure isn’t just a weather front. There’s also that intense social pressure to fully exploit the current heatwave. Here’s our guide to taking full advantage of that glowing orb in the sky



07.00 Get up! What’s wrong with you? Don’t you realise that this could be the last time you’ll ever feel warm? Stop checking your weather apps, and just go with it.

08.00 Find a friend with a gorgeous garden. Anyone will do. Hop over walls, call people up you haven’t spoke to in years and offer to return that Nirvana Unplugged CD you borrowed in 1995. Then chill in their garden for an hour before things get #awkward.

09.00 Apply sunscreen. Dermologica, Neutrogena and Kiehls all do great sunblocks for sensitive skin. They’re pricey, though, so make sure you get your value for money by slathering your face and staring at the sun constantly.

10.00 Jump off something high. All around the country, young lads in runners and shorts are jumping off buildings, bridges and walls into canals, rivers and the sea. Grab life by the horns and take the plunge. Make sure someone’s videoing it so you can become a viral sensation later in the day.

11.00 Exercise vicariously. Having avoided arrest and dried off, head to Clontarf to cheer on the half marathon runners.

Noon Coffee break. Stay away from complicated and overpriced iced coffees. Instead, cut out the extra sweeteners and artificial flavouring by pouring an americano over ice with some sugar syrup and milk. Refreshing, caffeinated and doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve just consumed a gigantic milkshake.

13.00 The Street Performance World Championship is on in Merrion Square. What are you waiting for? Contortionists and sword-swallowers are awaiting your gasps in Dublin 2.

14.00 Get yourself to a nice, quiet beach. Not the ones humming with people, but the lesser-known alternatives. Like . . .

1 Garrarus beach. Alternative to Tramore, Co Waterford. Bypass the amusements and campervans of the town’s main beach. Instead, take the Kilfarrasy Road out to this locals’ favourite.

2Burrow beach, Sutton. A quieter alternative to Portmarnock in north Dublin.

3 Trá Bán, Great Blasket Island, Co Kerry. Miles better than Inch. Take the ferry from Dunquin to an unspoilt stretch of white sand, where you can swim with seals in the chilly waters.

4 The northern beach at Donabate, Dublin. The main beach is to the right of the Martello tower, but try turning left instead to the smaller beach, which is usually deserted, even when the main one’s busy. There’s a walkway from Waterside Hotel.

5 Instead of going to Dublin’s Forty Foot, try the Vico Bathing Place, Dalkey, off Vico Road, Co Dublin. Deep water at high or low tide, and best view of Killiney Bay. It is clean, well-kept and little known. (NB: Occasional nudity.)

15.00 Cool down. Head indoors to the Science Gallery on Pearse Street, Dublin 2, and check out the Illusion exhibition.

16.00 Get refreshed. Tell a small child in an estate that the ice-cream van music is actually a hypnosis tool for the boogie man. No more pestering queues when the van comes around again.

17.00 Feel bad about psychological damage inflicted upon child. Drink coconut water.

18.00 Head to the Phoenix Park. Haim and Frank Ocean are supporting The Killers tonight for a perfect mix of pop-rock and RnB. Then leave before Two-Door Cinema Club come on because, let’s face it, you’ve too much to do.

21.00 Have a power nap. Remember, the heat takes an awful lot out of you and there is nothing weak about grabbing 50 minutes to slot in some snoozing time.

22.00 Soak up the street life of your local city, town or village. Wander around delighting in the fact that you can wear a T-shirt outdoors after the sun goes down. Listen to the banter spilling out of pubs, smell the overheating street bins, watch the smiles on people’s faces grow those extra centimetres thanks to the jovial spirit the hot weather induces.

22.00 Check out the big screen. Airplane is screening in a floating cinema in Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2. An hour later, Hollywood Babylon’s Summer of 1984 series continues with a screening of Revenge of the Nerds at the Light House Cinema in Smithfield, Dublin 7.

Midnight Go clubbing! Compare tan lines and panda eyes with new friends. With everyone out all day, clubs won’t have the same queues as normal, so race down to Mother on Copper Alley in Temple Bar for a bop before bed.

06.00 Head to the Forty Foot in Sandycove. Start the day with a sunrise swim, a snifter of brandy from a hip flask to warm up.

07.00 Bask. By now everyone hates you because you’ve already updated your Facebook status to something about loving life, and Instagrammed a seal bathing in the early morning light. So take some alone time with the Sunday papers before hatching more plans. If you can hold out till 10, reward yourself with Teddy’s ice-cream.

09.00 Berry yourself. By now your tummy is rumbling, so it’s time to pick up a snack. Off to Lambert’s Fruit Farm in Rathfarnham in Dublin, for some fruit picking. Go for the gooseberries – they’re cheaper.

10.00 Get your face on. Bring the kids to the Sky Art Portrait Artist of the Year family fun day at the RDS to have their faces painted. Preferably with war paint to see them through the packed day ahead.

11.00 Embrace nature! Go picking wild flowers. Bring your hayfever antihistamines. If a farmer challenges you with a shotgun, simply brandish your water pistol in jest to diffuse the situation.

13.00 It’s time for some exercise. Rounders is the perfect social summertime game. Just make sure you market it properly to your various social groups. For sporty friends, say something like: “Time for some serious competition in the sun. I’ve got the bat so let’s play some softball. Bring your own gloves please. If we can meet half an hour early for a warm up that would be great.” For casual tag-rugby-playing types, pitch it as, “Rounders time guys! We’ll be running around for the laugh and hitting things with a tennis racket bringing back those school memories!” and for people with absolutely no interest in doing anything active, it’s best approached as, “some kind of sport will be going on while we’re cooking Superquinn sausages on the barbecue and drinking cans. Woo!”

15.00 Get on a boat. There’s nothing like the open sea, a blue sky and a strong stomach to make you feel like you’re in an Irish tourism ad. Try Dublin Bay cruises, a new sightseeing tour. For more info and booking, see

16.00 Apply more sunscreen. By this time, you’ll probably need a blast of dry shampoo. Give your sunglasses a good wipe when you realise that they’ve been smudged with the residue of 99s.

17.00 Get to first base. Not since 1946 (a vintage year for Irish baseball) have two non-Irish baseball teams battled it out on Irish soil. So batter up at the Baseball Gathering at Corkagh Park near the Red Cow roundabout. And it’s free.

18.00 Go for ice-cream. At the Murphy’s pop-up in Arnotts, open 9am-7pm Saturday and 11am-7pm Sunday.

20.00 Realise your artistic vision. Spend a while composing an amusing summer- themed Vine video that shows your sun- burn evolving in a skillful timelapse.

21.00 It’almost low tide in the capital, so walk Sandymount Strand. Time it right and you can walk all the way to Blackrock Park, collecting a bag of shells as you go.

23.00 Celebrate Bastille Day. Set off some fireworks in your backgarden. Vive la France! Indulge in the classic French dish, a €1.99 chicken fillet roll (well, it’s in a baguette, isn’t it?) as a treat, considering all you’ve eaten all day is an ice-cream and some gooseberries.

Midnight Hit the hay. You’ve done well, kiddo. Now make sure you bore everyone in work the next day about how amazing your weekend was.

Take it outside: al fresco dining

Mullichain Café is cool in a converted grainstore right on the River Barrow, near St Mullins. There’s a beautiful riverside walk that runs for miles either side of it

The Castle cafe on the grounds of Blackrock Castle near Cork city; Indigo Brasserie on Washington St, Cork; Gusto cafe on Lapp’s Quay in Cork city; the Blue Haven bar in Kinsale for people watching and seafood; L’Escale pop-up seafood cafe run by a French seafood exporter on the pier in Schull.

Jo Burger on Castle Market, Dublin 2, has a policy of giving tables outside for only an hour or two, so there’s always good turnover; Le Pont Brasserie on Leeson Street, Dublin 2, for great French food in a hidden oasis, with shade!; The Brick House in Skerries; Carluccios, Dawson Street, Dublin 2 for crispy calamari; the Merrion Hotel garden, Dublin 2, for afternoon tea; Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2, has Herb Street for brunch, Ely for fish and chips, the roof on the Marker for swanky cocktails and Il Valentino for sambos; nearby is La Peniche, the restaurant on a barge on the Grand Canal; the Boathouse, on a lake in Farmleigh, Phoenix Park Dublin 8; Bite Dublin has a lovely terrace with good early-bird deals; and Union Square café at the Mayfield deli in Terenure, Dublin 6, is good value with mismatched everything on a wonky terrace; and Chez Max at the gates of Dublin Castle might just be the best outdoor spot in Dublin.

Morans on the Weir, Clarinbridge (above right) . The wall opposite O’Dowds, Roundstone.

Zuni on Patrick Street in Kilkenny has fantastic food and a great sunny terrace.

Harkins Bistro at Dromad Harbour.

Newbarn Farm in Ashbourne for families, with an open farm and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner  and homemade ice-cream (

The agricultural museum in Wexford is surprisingly good and in a gorgeous setting for picnics (

Donnelis in Wicklow town; Avoca Cafe in Mount Usher Gardens in Ashford;

Thanks to Rachel Collins, Emma Somers, Brian O’Connell, Orna Mulcahy, Marie Claire Digby, Catherine Cleary, Justin Comiskey, Edel Morgan

Hot stuff to do beyond the Pale

14.00 Your tummy is rumbling It’s time for the Valentia Island King Scallop Festival. Enter the scallop cook-off as islanders battle it out against visitors to be crowed Mr King Scallop. That title may sound like the author of a spam email, but it will be worth it.

19.00 It’s dinner time Hit up the Dunes Bar at Inchydoney, Co Cork and order a bucket of garlic potatoes and half a lobster.

20.00 Look alive! All this activity has got you yearning for a vista. Drive out to Slieve League in Donegal, three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher, and head along One Man’s Path for a spectacular view.

10.00 Teddy bear’s picnic Apply sunscreen and get yourself to the Castlegregory summer festival in Co Kerry. Bring your teddy bear. Because today’s the day you won’t want them to feel left out.

12.00 Drink in the milk (market) Go for a browse at the Milk Market in Limerick city, getting some much-needed shade under the beautiful canopy.

14.00 Mobile movies Take a breather in the Cinemobile at the Galway Film Fleadh for a screening of Walking The Camino: Six Ways To Santiago.

19.30 Have some cheek Have a pig-cheek salad in An Port Mór in Westport.

21.00 A man walks into a bar . . . Begin on your path to stardom at the Róisín Dubh open mic night in Galway.

22.00 Sunday night soul Some more tunes and a bit of a dance are needed at this stage to keep your energy up.
Something new though, so try Pitak, who play creole soul music. That should set you up, at the Pavillion in Cork city.

Stay cool in the shade
As the heat wave looks set to continues for another few days at least, some of us will be channelling our inner vampire and looking for somewhere dark and cool and away from the sunlight. Thankfully, many places in Ireland are built with our natural rain-sodden climate in mind.

There’s still a decent cinema infrastructure here, and places such as the Irish Film Institute and Light House Cinema in Dublin, as well as Triskel Christchurch Cinema in Cork, offer some nice alternatives to the mainstream multiplexes.

In terms of cool, dark bars, there’s probably one in every town and village. Some well-known options include the Stag’s Head or Long Hall in Dublin, Mutton Lane in Cork and Nancy Blakes in Limerick. It doesn’t get much cooler than an underground cave, and in Co Clare you have the choice of the Aillwee or the Doolin Caves, in Cork there are the Mitchelstown Caves (which host music gigs from time to time), while Fermanagh has the Marble Arch caves.

Many churches and crypts are sunlight-free zones too, so Christchurch and St Michan’s in Dublin, Saint Fin Barre’s in Cork, or St Canice’s in Kilkenny are all worth a visit. Indoor attractions for all the family include aquariums, with good ones in Dingle and Bray, galleries like the Glucksman on the grounds of UCC in Cork, The Chester Beatty and National Gallery in Dublin, while some good museum options include the Dead Zoo in Dublin or the Kerry County Museum in Tralee.


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