How I fell in love in Dublin

We went to Dublin for the weekend, and it just happened to be Valentine’s weekend. I didn’t really think anything of it, Mike and I work shifts and it’s not often that our weekends off coincide, but this one did, so we decided to jump on a flight from London to Dublin’s fair city.

Dublin Cityfell in love

A weekend isn’t long enough to enjoy all that Dublin offers. There is a greatness about Dublin that needs time to see it all. A city of writers, including my all-time favorite, Oscar Wilde. A city of history, dating back to Vikings and to the Irish Revolution. A city of libations. A city of music and laughter. Part of what makes the city so appealing are Dubliners’ easy-going spirit of friendliness and good humour. It’s what they call ‘the craic’.

From the green parks of the city to its Grafton Street shops to its historic treasures and tavern pleasures, Dublin attractions deserves a place on any romantic couple’s ‘must-visit’ list. We bought a Dublin Pass so we could jump on and off the city tour bus, get free entry and sometimes fast-track entry to some of the city’s attractions.

The Iveagh Gardens

We stayed at the wonderful Shelbourne Hotel on the north side of the vast Stephen’s Green Park. We had a great time, but the most romantic place for me in Dublin is The Iveagh Gardens located close to St Stephen’s Green Park. Dubbed ‘Dublin’s Secret Garden’ since it’s not well known, it was designed in 1865 by Ninian Niven for the Guinness family. The gardens were gifted to the state in 1991 and have now been mostly restored. The two fountains are a magnificent centrepiece. The waterfall flows over an immense rockery, with rocks from each of Ireland’s 32 counties. The Maze in yew hedging with a Sundial as a centre piece, is a miniature copy of London’s Hampton Court Maze. It’s just a wonderfully romantic, peaceful and beautiful place to be. I grow heritage seeds, so the pre-1860s rose varieties in the Victorian Rosarium were an added treat.

And why do I love The Iveagh Gardens so much? It’s an oasis of peace in a busy part of town and the monuments and trees in the park reminded me of mysterious fairy-tales. And little did I know that my own fairy-tale was to start right here. Mike got down on one knee in the rose garden and asked me to marry him. We haven’t bought engagement rings, instead we have a silver plated stem rose as an eternal reminder of our Valentine’s Day in Dublin and the commitment we have made to each other.