This summer has not been kind to us (weather wise or in any other way), but it’s hardly a shock given the fact that, well, it’s Dublin, and Ireland. Good weather is not something that we've come to expect, making summer swims for the less hardy amongst us all the more tricky, but the word on the street is that we can expect at least two dry days this week. The kids have also gone back to school meaning much emptier beaches, so we suggest packing up the towels and sunscreen (just in case) and heading to one of these spots for a reviving, late summer dip followed by a well-earned feast once you've thoroughly defrosted.
The Forty Foot Followed By Rasam, Mad Yolks or 64 Wine
A swim at the ever popular Forty Foot is a rite of passage in Dublin and you'll have earned your reward by the time you drag yourself from the freezing water and haul your bedraggled self through Rasam's shiny doors. In leafy Glasthule it's a popular choice for locals (and Chris de Burgh). We loved the spinach dumplings in a creamy tomato sauce on our last visit but you can’t go far wrong with anything on the menu. Not feeling Indian? Mad Yolks have set up shop at The Eagle House with very hearty looking sambos, coffee from Cocoa Brew and sweet stuff from The Rolling Donut, and if wine and small plates appeal more than any of that, head for 64 Wine, which has one of the best wine selections in Dublin.
Balscadden Bay, Howth followed by Mamó, Póg or Nora's Langos
The classic after-swim pairing is of course fish and chips, and Howth certainly has plenty on offer, but since Caffé Caira closed we've yet to find a new favourite. For a more upscale take on a classic head to Mamó for the cod chip and whatever else has come off the boats that day. If you're out early and want breakfast/brunch newly opened Póg is the only place to go - protein pancakes with 28 toppings for the win. And if you want something all round dirtier (in the best way) head over to Noras Làngos in Howth Market (weekends only) for the one of the best Hungarian exports since Harry Houdini. The deep fried discs of puffy dough brushed with garlic water, slathered with sour cream and topped with cheese are delicious with a captial D, but like most good things in life, best kept in the occasional pile.
Skerries Beach Followed By Olive Deli Or Potager
Let’s be honest, the Irish Sea can be a harsh playmate and chances are you will be in serious need of warming up by the time she is finished with you, and what better than with a steaming hot toastie from Olive Deli. They also get daily deliveries from Mud Bakery, like doughnuts with Rush strawberries and lemon meringue. If you've packed your glad rags then it’s got to be Potager for an early dinner or Sunday lunch. Potato with broad bean, smoked halibut and red sorrel sounds like the post swim snack of royalty.
(c) Lasma Kerve
Seapoint Followed By Lobstar, Cinnamon Or That's Amore
We really like everything at Lobstar in Monkstown, but for the perfect post-Seapoint swim snack it's got to be a lobster roll. A more casual alternative is Cinnamon where the open coronation chicken sandwich is a meal in itself, ideally followed by a wedge of cake and a strong coffee, or if you want to warm up with pizza and pasta head for That's Amore.
Portmarnock/Malahide Followed By Honey Honey, Griolladh or Old Street
Portmarnock beach is one of Dublin's best and equipped with shelters, toilets and a 99 ice-cream stand. There's also excellent Bailies coffee, cake and lunch nearby from Honey Honey in the village. If you fancy a more intimate swim spot, head up the coast towards Malahide, where you'll find cove after cove of sheltered sandy and stony beaches. Once you're suitably cold head for cheese toastie truck Griolladh (where you'll find more great coffee from Imbibe) and hopefully stumble on one of their specials, like this week's 'Lasagner' with shortrib ragu, pasta bits, ricotta, parmesan bechamel and even more parmesan. If you're looking for somewhere to sit down and relax head for Old Street in the village who've been using lockdown to cure their own charcuterie and age their own steaks. Colour us interested.
The Vico Baths, Dalkey, Followed By The Dalkey Duck, Grapevine Or Pepper Laine
If you've never swam in the Vico Baths have you really ever lived in Dublin? Once you've climbed back up Hawk Cliff head for Dalkey village and if it's a nice day go straight to the beer garden in the Dalkey Duck for some gambas in nduja butter or seafood linguine. For wine and small plates it's got to be Grapevine - ideally on a Wednesday when corkage on anything off the shelf is only €1 - or if decent coffee and a cinnamon bun is more appealing, Pepper Laine have coffee from Full Circle Roasters and plenty of treats to replenish your energy stores.