Having spent Paddy's Weekend raising one or two glasses to our patron saint, my other half and I decided to fill up our Easter break with some more wholesome activities. An early start and a bit of fresh air always seem to make Bank Holiday weekends last that bit longer and the next step was choosing an outdoor pursuit.
A stroll along the canal perhaps? Maybe we could attempt one of Dublin's more strenuous walks? We even considered going the whole hog and driving out of the city for the day but eventually we settled on a short spin up the M50 to check out Malahide Castle and Gardens.
The grounds had long been on our Dublin bucket list but for one reason or another neither of us had ever actually been there. Okay, that's a small fib on my part as I'd visited on a third class school tour but you'll forgive me if the trip isn't exactly fresh in my memory.
We set off on Easter Sunday at around 9.30am which isn't bad at all for a weekend, I'm sure you'll agree. The relatively painless Bank Holiday traffic played its part in getting us there fairly quickly and before we knew it we were driving past the airport and into the long and winding roads of north County Dublin.
Getting out of the house that early on a Sunday doesn't come without its sacrifices, namely having to skip breakfast. However, we'd already planned to have the most important meal of the day after arriving at our destination.
Even at the ungodly hour of 10am, the on-site Avoca café was abuzz with families and small groups out to start their Easter off right. A decent-sized fry and a cup of tea later and we were on our way.
Malahide Castle and Gardens offer guided tours of the grounds but with grey clouds above, we decided that checking the place out at our own pace was the way to go, saving the tour for another day.
We made our way up the path from the café to the woodland, taking in the vast green grassy area where dogs ran to their hearts content and children enjoyed one of Malahide Castle's regular Movies On The Lawn cinema experiences.
The grounds has received a significant boost in tourist numbers in recent years and looking around it wasn't hard to see why. Tucked away outside of the city but easily accessible by DART and Dublin Bus services, it's the perfect location to get away from the hustle and bustle without having to spend a large chunk of your day traveling.
Having said that, Malahide Village with its wide selection of pubs and restaurants is only a short walk away should hunger strike during your visit.
While the Phoenix Park has the benefit of being smack bang in the centre of Dublin, Malahide can definitely rival it for natural beauty but given that the weather wasn't great on the day we visited, we can only imagine that it would look even better on a sunny day.
If you're looking for an outdoor experience during this Bank Holiday, Malahide Castle and Gardens should certainly be near the top of your list.