Planning a Picnic in Dublin

We might already be complaining about the heat, but I’ll take sunshine over snow any day.

When the sun comes out there can be an infectious atmosphere of craving time spent outdoors. I recently wrote a post over on the Traveler’s Way about planning a picnic in New York City. This got me to thinking that I should write a similar post about Dublin. The sunny days might be fewer and farther between, but that makes them all the more special once they do roll around.

Sunny June day in Dublin

For each suggestion, there’s a place to pick up some supplies and where to picnic afterwards. Remember that if you’re planning a trip to Dublin in June, the evenings are filled with light. It won’t get dark until late, meaning you can plan an evening picnic as late as 8 or 9pm. Here are some of my favorite options for picnic supplies across Dublin, in a range of prices.

1. Junior’s

Hands down, the best sandwich in Dublin comes from Junior’s. This tiny sandwich shop at lunchtime turned candlelit bistro at night serves up some of my favorite food in the city. The word is out about Junior’s, and during the ‘lunch rush’ (approximately 1 – 2pm) the place is absolutely packed. And packed takes on a whole new meaning for a restaurant with a total of eight tables for 2. If the sun is shining, order your sandwich to go, and take a five minute walk up to the canal.

Here there are picnic benches in one of the most leafy, picturesque areas of Dublin where poets like Patrick Kavanagh used to stroll along the canal. Dig into your Junior’s sandwich (I recommend the grilled chicken) at a bench along the canal and you will most likely be surrounded by Irish accents.

Juniors, 2 Bath Avenue, Dublin 4.

Take a seat along the canal on Herbert Place, Dublin 4, for some of my favorite benches.

Dublin’s scenic canal

2. Sheridan’s Cheesemongers

In my original picnic post on New York, I mentioned stocking up on supplies from Murray’s Cheese. One of my favorite picnics is full of small nibbles and different tastes. While Junior’s makes a killer sandwich, there’s nothing particularly Irish about the sandwich itself. When you walk into Sheridan’s cheesemongers, you will find a wide range of artisan Irish cheeses. You will find options that you can find stocked in good cheese shops in the States, and you will also find cheese that you’ve never heard of or seen before.

Tell the cheesemonger you’re planning a picnic and let him help you stock up on a range of small portions for your picnic. While Sheridan’s is located right near the beautiful park St Stephens Green, there is also one more option if you’re willing to walk another 5 minutes without tearing into your paper bag full of cheese. Iveagh Gardens is a lesser-known option, and this walled garden with its fountains and sculptures will place you amongst locals, not fellow tourists.

Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, 11 South Anne Street, Dublin 2.

Iveagh Gardens, Clonmel Street, Dublin 2.

Herbert Park in the spring

3. Roly’s

There are some restaurants that make food to crave, and Roly’s is one of them. It was almost dangerous when I lived close to Roly’s, as a loaf of their traditional brown bread was never too far away. While Roly’s offers an elegant restaurant upstairs and a sit-down cafe on the ground floor, they also offer items to take away. Sandwiches are delicious and fresh, and pastries are hard to ignore. Check out the refrigerated case for sparkling water, fresh fruit, and even small bottles of wine to pad out your picnic.

Roly’s is also located right around the corner from one of my favorite parks in Dublin, Herbert Park. This small neighborhood park isn’t as colossal as Phoenix Park or as manicured as St Stephens Green, but it is a beautiful space full of flowering trees and springtime tulips that is very worthy of a picnic. Don’t leave without checking out the small pond where you can often find elegant swans swimming.

Roly’s Bistro, 7 Ballsbridge Terrace, Dublin 4.

Herbert Park, 4 Ballsbridge Avenue, Dublin 4.

Picnics aren’t only for budget travelers. By seeking out these local spots, you will escape the small circle of Dublin that regular tourists check out. It’s more than likely you won’t find many other foreigners (other than those that call Dublin home) picnicking in Herbert Park or Iveagh Gardens or along the canal. If like me this is the type travel you like to do, why not break out a map of Dublin and plan a picnic?

Check back this summer for more picnic ideas in different destinations in Europe and the US. Readers, what are your favorite spots for picnics?

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