You can't beat a tipple and some good grub in the sunshine. Katy McGuinness shares her favourite spots around the country for outdoor eating and drinking
Coolock, Dublin 5
With not one but two large beer gardens, The Cock & Bull is bound to be a popular spot this summer. The drinks menu offers craft beers, wine, cocktails and a mind-boggling selection of premium spirits; one regular says the chicken wings are the best in Dublin.
Harold's Cross, D6W
Peggy Kelly's is a traditional pub with a contemporary vibe and its beer garden has some seriously cool art, including pieces by Solus, Aches and Maser. The drinks menu is extensive - craft beers, wines, gins and whiskeys - and the burgers from Park Burger (beef, buttermilk chicken and Beyond for the vegans) hit the spot nicely.
Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin
The Haddington's garden has been reconfigured in accordance with social-distancing guidelines and there's an evening and all-day weekend menu of snacks and pizzas available from its Oliveto restaurant. Work up an appetite by walking the pier or going for a dip at the Forty Foot.
Parnell St, Dublin 1
The dog-friendly bar filled with vintage artefacts has a quirky beer garden and a drinks offering that includes heaps of trendy IPAs and craft beers, and a host of cocktails. Great pizzas and loaded fries make for perfect soakage. One regular describes it as a haven in the heart of the city.
Lower Baggot St, Dublin 2
tonerspub.ie (Due to open August 10)
Toner's Yard opened in 2012 and has been hopping on sunny and not so sunny days ever since - the heaters keep things cosy even when the weather doesn't oblige. The traditional pub, which has been in existence since 1818 and was once frequented by Patrick Kavanagh and WB Yeats, pours a great pint of Guinness.
Smithfield, Dublin 7
Facebook: @BonoboSmithfield (Due to open on August 10)
Pizzas and pints, plus cocktails and a great selection of new and unusual beers, combine in a winning formula at this trendy Dublin 7 bar, which has a large beer garden and is set to reopen on August 10. Pooches are welcome.
Irishtown, Dublin 4
thevintageinn.ie (Due to open on August 10)
This charming little pub in Irishtown serves a great pint and always has some interesting craft beers on rotation. As well as a food menu that includes chowder, wings, fish and chips and burgers, there are home-made cakes every day. To the side of the building is a city garden with cushioned benches under a heated canopy.
Glasnevin/Drumcondra, Dublin 9
In its new(ish) location on the northside, the Bernard Shaw has a large beer garden and a menu that offers lunch, brunch and dinner seven days a week. As well as the in-house menu, Eat Yard is open from Thursday to Sunday - current vendors include La Cocina Cuevas, Cork vegan favourite My Goodness, and Village Pizza.
Meath St, Dublin 8
Lucky's has reconfigured its backyard with screens between tables to aid social distancing. There's some cool art on the walls and the yard is covered, making it less susceptible to horrible weather than some other beer gardens. The Coke Lane Pizzas are great.
Howth, Co Dublin
Located at the summit of the Hill of Howth, at the location of what was the highest stop on the old GNR tramway, The Summit has been in the Gaffney family for generations. The views from the outdoor tables are unbeatable, taking in Ireland's Eye and Lambay, and the Mountains of Mourne to the north.
Dunmore East, Co Waterford
Creamy pints and a menu focusing on local fish and seafood is the winning formula at The Strand Inn, which keeps locals and visitors happy with chowder, crab claws and a children's menu that includes fresh fish and chips. Sunshine and sea views make everything taste better.
Bray, Co Wicklow
This new rooftop bar and restaurant isn't your typical old-school beer garden, but is already a hit with Bray locals. The menu offers more than standard pub grub, and weekend brunch - accompanied by cocktails - includes plenty of veggie and vegan options as well as hangover-busting dishes such as smoked brisket and potato rosti.
Cashel, Co Tipperary
If you are planning to visit the Rock of Cashel, with its Gothic cathedral and ancient chapels, this summer, Mikey Ryan's is the place to take a pit-stop. The smart gastro-pub has a menu focused on the best of local Tipperary produce and the garden terrace - rather more posh than a beer garden - is a fine spot on which to enjoy White Gypsy on draft and comfort food that's a cut above your usual pub fare.
Book ahead in plenty of time to secure a table at Tom Barry's beer garden, one of Cork's oldest pubs and a place with a soft spot in the heart of many Corkonians. There's a wood-fired oven serving pizza which fans describe as 'amazing'.
Dingle, Co Kerry
dickmackspub.com (Due to open on August 10)
Everyone loves Dick Mack's (have you really been to Dingle if you haven't had a pint in Dick Mack's?) which has been going since 1899 and is half-pub, half-leather shop, so you can pick up a belt while you're ordering your drinks. This year tables in the expanded outdoor area adjacent to the on-site brewhouse are always in high demand. Dick Mack's is child and pet-friendly.
Ahakista, Co Cork
There was weeping and gnashing of teeth when Arundel's closed last year but it is back open under new ownership and early reports are good. Located on Sheep's Head Way, the views out over Kitchen Bay are gorgeous and there are few more scenic spots in which to enjoy a bowl of chowder or a plate of fish and chips (with mushy peas!) accompanied by a cold beer or something crisp and white.
Craughwell, Co Galway
Now run by Rachel Raftery, this fourth-generation family-owned bar on the Main Street in pretty Craughwell has a lovely spacious outdoor area with bright green tables and hanging baskets filled with flowers. There's a menu with something to please everyone and a fine selection of craft and other beers.
The Reg's rooftop terrace affords customers an up-close view of Reginald's Tower and as well as a menu that includes seafood chowder and local fish in local Metalman beer batter, it has a clever roof that closes automatically if it rains, meaning there's no need to bring an umbrella with you on your night out. Genius!
Rathmullan, Co Donegal
With a big basket of salty chips and a pint of ice-cold Kinnegar beer in front of you, there are few better places from which to appreciate the panoramic views out over Lough Swilly towards Inch Island and the Inishowen peninsula. It's even spectacular in the rain, but if the sun is shining you could be in heaven.
Thomastown, Co Kilkenny
With a menu that offers great pizzas, burgers and a comprehensive selection of craft beers, as well as a garden furnished with limestone tables hand-carved by local artist Kevin Fennelly, Tim's Bar is a popular Thomastown spot for which there will be big demand this summer.
Main St, Wexford (Due to open on August 10)
This quintessential Wexford pub has been busy with click-and-collect during lockdown but will open again shortly. The upstairs deck is a great place to sit and enjoy some of the great selection of craft beers and IPAs on tap; there are local whiskeys, too.
Dundalk, Co Louth
The beer garden at Kennedy's - also known as the Railway Bar, thanks to its location opposite Clarke's Railway Station in the heart of Dundalk - is large and nicely landscaped, with a well-kept lawn and tables positioned under brightly-coloured parasols. The menu includes burgers, lasagne and fish and chips.
With its on-site microbrewery, The Brew Pub is located on the site of an old Franciscan monastery and has one of the best beer gardens in Cork City. It's covered, heated and comfortable, with attractive hanging baskets. Once the centre of Guinness bottling for Cork, the pub now serves an extensive range of craft beers, ales, lagers and stouts, including its own and beers from other Irish and international microbreweries. The pizzas are made in a wood-burning oven by local pizza company Pompeii Pizza.
Located four miles outside Waterford city, under the old stone bridge at Halfway House, Jack Meade's has been in existence since the beginning of the 18th century, and in the ownership of the same family since 1857. This is a family-friendly spot that's ideal for multi-generational groups, as the beer garden has a barbecue menu, plus baby-changing facilities, a playground and a pet farm. There's a pretty walk by the tidal stream around the perimeter of the grounds.
Aughris, Co Sligo
This family-owned, old-world, traditional thatched cottage sits right by the beach at Aughris in Sligo bay, against a backdrop of the Ox Mountains, with Knocknarea and Benbulben to the east. Watch the waves roll in as you sup on your pint and tuck into a bowl of mussels; if you find it hard to tear yourself away, there's a B&B attached.
oconnellsbargalway.com (Due to open August 10)
Located in the centre of Galway on Eyre Square, O'Connell's is known for attracting a great crowd and having a good buzz about it. There are two outside bars on a Victorian street known as Gin Lane in the partially-covered and heated beer garden. Good Dough Bros pizzas are best served alongside O'Connell's own 1862 IPA brewed in collaboration with White Hag.
Dungarvan, Co Waterford
The Moorings may have something to do with Dungarvan's alternative moniker of 'Fungarvan'. It's a lively spot year round, but the Courtyard Garden - bordered by the ancient walls of the 12th-century King John's Castle - comes into its own in the summer months. The drinks offering includes local brews from the Dungarvan Brewing Company and MetalMan, as well as Blackwater gin and Muldoon's whiskey and a full menu including wood-fired pizzas and the occasional whole hog spitroast.
Watergrasshill, Co Cork
With a food offering that's a substantial cut above standard pub fare, taking advantage of the great local produce available in the area, O'Mahonys is not your usual country pub. Known as a wedding venue, it has lovely outdoor bars and gardens, serving a fine selection of local beers, gins and - importantly for designated drivers - non-alcoholic wine.
Clonakilty, Co Cork
The Emmet is a smart boutique hotel located right in the centre of Clonakilty and its garden, located in a spacious walled courtyard, with tables that are well-spaced, is ideal for those who prefer to eat and drink outside this summer. All menus are available outside.
The Locke is home to Limerick's biggest outdoor beer garden, which has fantastic views over the Shannon. The food offering includes oysters and fresh seafood, as well as steak and ale pie, burgers and the like, while the beer menu features small Irish micro-breweries and an impressive selection of Irish gins.