Give yourself time
There are more than 50 venues in Dublin licensed to organise an official civil marriage, though under Irish law you cannot be married anywhere outside. Whilst a minimum of 3 months notice is required to register in advance of your marriage, in Dublin it is wise to register 7 months ahead.
If you’re planning a catholic wedding ceremony, start early as the paperwork takes time. Create a short-list of 2-3 churches in case your preferred church is unavailable.
Irish traditions before your big day
There are so many traditions, customs and folklore to take advantage of for a traditional Irish wedding. There’s one custom where the groom is invited to the bride’s house just before the wedding and they cook a goose in his honour. Once the goose was cooked there was simply no going back. At one time, the groom was locked inside the church on the wedding day in case he got cold feet. It’s unlikely your priest will agree to that today!
Traditional symbols for the wedding
It is very common for a Claddagh Ring to be used at an Irish wedding. The ring is faced outwards prior to the wedding and reversed to face inwards on the hand after the wedding to indicate marriage status of the wearer.
The chime of bells is thought to keep evil spirits away and restore harmony. A small glass or ceramic bell can be used in the Church service and kept as a memento. Giving a bell as a gift has become an Irish tradition.
There are a few traditional Irish wedding vows that you might like to incorporate into your ceremony or have everyone sing the Irish wedding song.
Historically, Irish brides wore a wreath of wild-flowers in their hair and carried them in bouquets. Include the ‘Bells of Ireland’ flower and a sprig of shamrock for good luck in your flower arrangements including the groom’s boutonierre.
Irish brides used to carry a real horseshoe for good luck. A horseshoe made of porcelain or fabric is as good. For other gift ideas for the bride you can check silveranniversarygifts.co.uk.
A linen ‘magic hanky’ is traditionally carried by the bride on her wedding day, being converted to a Christening hat for her first child. The hanky is then converted back to be used at the child’s own wedding.
You cannot fully experience Dublin without spending at least some of your time in a pub. Your age and status don’t matter as you mix with locals for ‘the craic’ of conversation, entertainment, singing, stories and gossip. The best known area for pubs is Temple Bar, south of the River Liffey. However. some criticise the area for being overpriced and disappointing. The areas around Leeson Street, Harcourt Street, South William Street and Camden/George’s Street are popular nightlife spots for locals.
There has been a revolution in Dublin eateries in recent years. It’s understood that dining is not just a biological necessity. Bacon and cabbage, boxty, coddle, Irish stew and colcannon are not the only Irish dishes available. The city is overflowing with all kinds of eateries for almost every taste and nearly every budget.
Like most cities, the closer to the city centre you want to stay, the more you’ll pay and for less space. There are a handful of good hostels in the city for budget travellers. Although there are some good mid-range options north of the Liffey, most hotels are south of the river, ranging from elegant Georgian town-houses to the city’s top hotels.
Dublin may be small, but it’s a city full of history, character and natural beauty. There are so many choices of restaurants, bars, shows, galleries and events to choose from, but here are some of the best Valentine’s dates you can have with your sweetheart in Dublin:
Dublin is full of pubs and cocktail bars. Temple Bar is a famous area of Dublin to go for a drink, but it can get busy at peak times. For many the Irish pub experience includes tales of Irish folklore and live music, all while enjoying an Irish dinner.
Dublin has many music venues if you want a slightly bigger affair than one of the many pubs. The Academy on Middle Abbey Street and the Olympia Theatre on Dame Street are just two of the venues worth checking.
Whilst there is so much in Dublin to keep you busy, there are oases of calm away from the streets without needing to leave the city. The rambling Phoenix Park, historic Dubh Linn Garden and the beautifully romantic Iveagh Gardens are romantic places to take a stroll and people watch.
Sandemans offers a great free 3 hour walking tour of the city starting at City Hall. Even if you know Dublin, you’ll learn something new taking this tour. Get your walking shoes on and enjoy this precious time with your beloved.
The National Gallery of Ireland shows art dating from the 13th to the 20th century. With 15,000 exhibits, you’ll be sure to find the picture that you love and it’ll be a chance for you both to learn a bit more about each other. This is just one of a myriad of museums in the city that are all sure to enlighten and entertain.
The classic date night often involves a movie. The IFI (Irish Film Institute) in Temple Bar and the Lighthouse cinema in Smithfield both showcase the best in independent, Irish and international cinema. The IFI has a cafe-bar that serves delicious food to make for a wonderful evening.