While the mechanics of Irish dating tend to pivot around drinks and more drinks, the opportunity to experience someone’s company in both sobriety and sunlight has its perks. What to do in alcohol’s absence, however, is the ultimate quandary.
That’s why we’ll be bringing you the best alternative first dates in Dublin every week, and we’ve decided to start where so many finish: Glasnevin Cemetery.
Built at the behest of Daniel O’Connell – whose tomb is the tallest in Ireland (51m) – Ireland’s necropolis contains more than one million interments including history class stalwarts like Michael Collins and Countess Markievicz.
It’s probably best to go with a guided tour as opposed to an open visit , so you appear more 'history buff' and less 'death-obsessed weirdo'.
If you’re sensing awkwardness as you wait for the tour to begin, then linger by the tombs near the entrance and see if you can – together – tease out whose casket made it into the cemetery’s prime real estate.
And if you’re feeling particularly emboldened, pick a figure from Irish history – Collins is an easy find – and see if you can pinpoint the figure’s exact location (it’s worth bearing in mind that most of the 1916 leaders are buried in Arbour Hill, so don’t waste your time looking for Pádraig)
If it isn’t going well, then the bus stops right outside the main entrance – although it’s worth noting that the walk around the cemetery can take up to 45 minutes, so if you’re right in the middle of the place then it could be a long and awkward walk to the gate.
If it’s going really atrociously, well, you could always walk into town.
Scene and be seen:
Unless you live nearby and only fraternize with Irish history buffs, then the likelihood you’ll run into someone you know is pretty slim.
Normally a graveyard represents the last stop, but if you’ve enjoyed nerding out on history together then there are plenty of options to keep the date going.
The 140 bus into town goes via O’Connell Street, so no reason not to stop off and take in some of the historical heavyweights like Parnell and Larkin – and if you intend on staying locally, then grab a coffee in the cemetery café or pick up a pint in the famed Gravediggers pub.
Don’t be that person who didn’t bother with a quick Google summation on the bus.
Glib comments like, ‘Constance Gore Booth and Countess Markievicz died the same day – isn’t that amazing?’ won’t win you the school prize. Or a second date.
Check the forecast beforehand – you may need an umbrella – and stick to comfortable shoes. The terrain is uneven for reasons we probably don’t have to explain, so if you wear heels you’re really asking for trouble.
A wander around the cemetery is free, while the museum will set you back €6 and the tour (which includes museum admission) is just €8.
You spend your next date cuddled up at a home screening of One Million Dubliners. Although maybe it would be best to park the death theme at that point.
There are 1.5 million people buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, more than the current living population of the city. So if you’re unlucky enough to be on your date while the Zombie Apocalypse breaks out, well, you may as well just accept that the game is up.
And in more realistic terms, if things don’t work out, you’ll forever be labelled among friends of your date as “that guy/girl who organised the date in a graveyard”.
Worth the risk, we reckon.