We’ve all hit the wall, you’ve chatted on a dating app (Nonchalant recommends Passion Fruut or Hinge), you’ve texted, maybe you’ve even called, sent a risky pic or three. Now, you’re asked the unthinkable: prolonged human interaction. A semi-universal issue; that of a first date – or any date, if we’re being – completely – honest.
After the time we’ve spent locked indoors with Netflix, too much take-out (and our vibrators), the pounding heart this thought might give you is more than understandable. So, be your niche cottagecore or romantic academia, art gay or plant mom, whether you desire a date with endless opportunities for a chat or an excursion of gentle, silent sapphic contemplation – Nonchalant has options for you.
If Molly Bloom Says So
No, it’s not a Molly’s Game reference – though we fully support you making them. Postured as a dedication to James Joyce – this tiger’s bite of the Dublin literary scene, the acronymic MoLi (Museum of Literature Ireland) is actually a nod to Ulysses’ Molly Bloom. Located at 85-86 St. Stephens Green, MoLi is the historic home of pre-Belfield, pre-liberal, pre-Queer af (pre-cool, basically) University College Dublin. Entangling accents and languages, MoLi demonstrates the inflections of Irish – often deemed a supposedly “dead” language – in the employment of English within the Irish literary canon.
This museum of the moment, a collaboration between the National Library of Ireland and UCD, celebrates Irish writers of old, new and those gladly in between. (Though, if you do happen to be a Joycean, the ash tree that Joyce had his graduation photo taken against stands fierce – and vaguely oppressive – in MoLi’s Readers Gardens.)
Experience the odd romance of the workshop space on the second floor. Write your sweetheart a love note and – if you’re brave enough – share. Be it the artist’s path or the lavender way: MoLi offers visitors a creative safe space within which to cast our nets, to bring our stories, fictional or not, alive. So, queer up and be the author of your dating tale.
After a few saccharine hours of literary courting, take refuge at the Commons Cafe. Offering a range of food, coffees, sweet treats and wines, it’s a must-see. Relax into the history of what was once the UCD student dining halls; a place home to an infinitude of tender vitality – of both mind and heart.
By Sapphic Waters
Thinking of Howth, the minds of most wander to the rhododendron laced Howth Castle, Howth Cliff Walk’s exalted vistas or perhaps, to the equally lovable Howth Market. Lesser known, however, is the amiably epicurean Balscadden Bay Beach.
This freckle of paradise, located five minutes from the main town, is accessible via an ageing stairwell that; while it may not pass safety tests, aces the IG scoring system. (I could definitely bore you with further directions but let’s be honest babe, we know you’re using Google Maps regardless.) The inlet, nestled in the Howth peninsula, is a guaranteed sun spot for those rare days in Ireland when Sol ushers a little mercy towards our waterlogged selves. Seagulls, however, can be a tad aggressive. So, bear on the side of caution with any grub, my loves.
After some gloriously sapphic sun soaking, wander on back to the town for whatever takes your fancy. Be it ice cream, fish and chips, vegan delights or Sangria, Howth’s ready with the scratchings for whatever itch you – or your beloved/s – may have.
What’s green and gay?
… Fairview Park.
This tree-lined deluge, having been the first place where I kissed — and a week later, warred, with my now girlfriend, has a soft, somewhat Cézannesque place in my heart. Located to the north of Dublin, this emerald flecked site is, fortunately, rarely all that busy.
The park has some pretty interesting links to Irish LGBTQ+ history. Prior to Ireland’s first Pride Parade in 1983, LGBTQ+ activists marched from Dublin city centre to Fairview park, protesting the levels of violence against gay men and women in Ireland. The park, now a hotspot for socially anxious Queer daters, seems to suggest cultural progress.
Whether you’re going for the traditional picnic date, the casual drinks or, a cute reading afternoon, amenities are ample. Aside the emerald lattices, find a well-stocked Tesco Metro. Less than ten minutes away, there’s a Lidl, Aldi and Starbucks. So, channel your Blue Is The Warmest Colour energy and do all that smiling before the smooching lark we’re all absolutely aching for.
Find your Heloise
Located in Merrion Square and boasting over 14,000 works, the National Gallery of Ireland; for which entry to the permanent collection is free – is a first date dream.
In the inner-city refuge that George Bernard Shaw termed the “asylum of his youth,” linger amidst the patrician excess of the Shaw Room; its domineering august blues and sunny frames making it difficult to part ways with. Embrace the tragic romance of Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s fated gallery scene and wander amidst (to name a few) Venus, Monet and a strangely sapphic passing Daniel O’ Connell.
Meander off your own steam or – I recommend – follow one of the National Gallery’s “Through a Lens” tours. The LGBTQIA+ themed tour is, predictably, primarily constituted of cis-gendered gay male artists; but a few pretty cool women and genderqueer artists can be found.
Whether it’s in the Grand Gallery, the Irish room (1670 – 1835) or simply (I recommend this one) in the excessively huge elevator – you’ll find a way to nab that kiss. If the moment’s right.
Fancy a bath?
For the dating traditionalists, The Baths at Clontarf is the perfect dating location. Overlooking Dublin Bay, the bar and restaurant proffer a lengthy cocktail menu and near unbeatable ambience. Raspberry Rum Smash, anyone?.
Dead air is unlikely at the Baths, with the outdoor bar having a prospect of 1886 founded Baths swimming pool. While for some, the imprecise berating of swim instructors might be an irritant; there’s much to be said for the heavy stillness those chew outs, splashes and cackles prevent.
However, if you favour bringing your own blanket and chilling outside on the Clontarf greens (most do), order your drinks to go (additional to their signature cocktails, the Baths wine list boasts 300 titles) and set up camp.
The drinks are pretty potent so, you’ll all feel dashingly charming in no time at all.
Despite the horror of being perceived, to start a Queer dynasty, you do have to bear a few discomforts. Here, at Nonchalant, we’re hoping this lineup of heady hangouts will alleviate at least a few of those pre-courting jitters. Shooting your shot might lead to a single memory; a hilarious tale or a treasured intimacy. Or perhaps, to a multitude. Team Nonchalant’s rooting for the latter, of course.
Keep in mind: these outings are by no means restricted to the romantic and would; be the company amorous, platonic or otherwise, make for an indubitably enticing itinerary!
Team Nonchalant x