Budgets are tighter and wallets are most certainly lighter these days, which is why we’ve done the grunt work for you and come up with ten recession-proof date ideas.
1. Stranded at the drive-in
You might feel like an extra out of Grease, but there’s no doubt drive-ins are cool. And it’s at least one way to avoid those awkward glances from the other cinema goers who know you’re on a first date. And you don’t have to worry about bothering anyone else by talking too much or using your phone, bar your date of course. Prices start at €16 per person – the novelty costs extra. For more, see: http://moviejunction.ie/
2. Wild and Free
Dublin Zoo or Fota Island are both winners in our books. There’s something about the African Plains, Rainforest replicas and exotic trails that fascinate us. You can get lost there for hours exploring all the different facets these zoos have to offer. It mightn’t be very romantic, but it certainly is fun! Prices start at €14.30 for an adult. See www.dublinzoo.ie and www.fotawildlife.ie.
3. Michelin star meal
We told you we’d be covering all budgets here. Chapter One in Dublin’s Parnell Square is a winner for a reason. Their special four course dinner menu runs at €65 each. Aniar in Galway is simply delectable: the food is Michelin-star standard, but the atmosphere is laidback. Tasting menus cost €60 per person. This isn’t a first-date idea, but ideal for a special occasion. Don’t give into temptation and snack beforehand, you will regret it!
4. Getting your hands dirty
It sounds naff, but it really is fun. Get all nostalgic for your artistic childhood in this painting class and see if your other half really is as footloose and fancy free as he pretends to be. A quick Google search will tell you your nearest class schedule and prices, but you’re not short of options. Prices average at €20 per person.
5. Educate yourself
For the vino connoisseurs, visit Wineport Lodge in Athlone which offers exceptionally tasty food, a wide selection of wines, and access to their ‘Bollinger Lounge’ for an afternoon of bubbles in luxurious surroundings. Spa treatments are a must here too – we’d recommend the couples massage for the ultimate in romantic indulgence. Despite its five-star feel, Wineport are always offering special discounts, and prices currently start at €75 per person sharing on certain nights. www.wineport.ie.
6. Adrenaline Rush
Get your Rambo on at an adventure centre. For adrenaline junkies, these centres offer everything from paintballing, zip lines, abseiling, high ropes and more. Especially during these miserable months, most venues are doing special offers (starting at about €50) to lure in customers. Again, man’s best friend, Google, will help you out with finding your nearest branch.
7. Kiss the Cook
The couple that cooks together, stays together. Okay, maybe we just made that up, but we think there’s something to it. It could be at Ballymaloe, the Village at Lyons or your local restaurant offering up an afternoon class to transform you into a domestic goddess. Either way, it’s very romcom.
8. Take to the Stage
Support local talent and fool your date into thinking you’re cultured all in one. Sign up to the Ticketmaster Ireland newsletter for information on all the latest events. The Gaiety always have knockout Irish legs of international tours, and we defy you not to find a local theatre group more than 30 minutes away elsewhere in the rest of the country. Or better known productions, expect to pay upwards of €40, but your local talent is more like €15.
9. Sweat it out
For the outdoorsy couple, check out www.meetup.com for updates on local hill walking and hiking clubs – free of charge – in the Leinster area. This is a particularly social date, and if you’re the fair weather type, one we imagine you won’t forget soon!
10. Laugh Out Loud
For a pretty basic entry fee, usually around €10, you get a night of entertainment and guaranteed laughs. If the comedians aren’t up to scratch, then at least the two of you can make your own jokes! Check out http://www.comedyclubs.ie/ for information on your nearest venue.