Summer has officially begun once the May bank holiday weekend hits, even though the weather might not reflect it.
Sunshine or not, we're determined to make the most of that extra day off and really enjoy the extended free time.
If you're around Ireland's capital this weekend (or any weekend), here are a few of our must-do activities…
1. Head to the seaside
We're not suggesting you dive into the icy waters of the Irish Sea, but a stroll along one of the country's many sandy beaches or piers is a perfect way to spend a day off. Hop on the DART to Killiney, Sandycove, Howth or Bray and breathe in some of that fresh sea air.
If you're in the mood for some exercise, take the 90-minute walk from Bray Head into Greystones, with gorgeous sea views along the way. Of course, a trip to the seaside wouldn't be complete without a 99 ice cream complete with a Flake – our favourite has to be the legendary Teddy's in Dún Laoghaire.
2. Embrace the best of Irish produce and design
Weekend markets are scattered all over Dublin and take place rain or shine. Check out the hot food, treats, produce and local art on offer at the Marlay Park Market in Rathfarnham (Saturdays 10am – 4pm or Sundays 11am – 4pm), head out to the People's Park Market in Dún Laoghaire (Sundays 11am – 4pm), or for some vintage treasures and one-of-a-kind jewellery check out the Ha'apenny Flea Market, at Dublin's Grand Social bar every Saturday from 12pm – 6pm.
3. Indulge in a decadent Afternoon Tea
What better way to celebrate the start of summer than by treating yourself to a spot of Afternoon Tea? The tradition dates back to the 18th century but has been given a more modern twist in recent years, and it's not all about Earl Grey tea and triangular sandwiches these days.
The Conrad Dublin has just introduced a brand new Afternoon Tea menu with their chef Dmitri Stroykov featuring an incredible range of open sandwiches, baked delights and desserts with a particular emphasis on Irish provenance. From flavoursome smoked Irish salmon with creamy avocado and caper berry on housemade Guinness bread to chocolate brownies covered in Valrhona chocolate, this special treat won't disappoint.
Check it out from 3pm – 5pm daily at the Conrad Dublin. Prices start at €35 including a selection of teas or €45 for the Champagne Afternoon Tea with specially selected Lanson White Label Champagne. Guests will also receive a a gift of strawberry and orange macaroons and a taster of traditional and flavoured teas to take home.
4. Get to the park with a picnic
Okay, you might need to layer up with a jacket, but nothing beats a stroll and a picnic on a summer's day in Dublin. Stephen's Green and the Iveagh Gardens are both perfect weekend spots, or head further out of the city to Bushy Park, Marlay Park or shelter indoors at the Phoenix Park Tea Rooms.