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Impress with your intellectualism at Books Upstairs


Looking for love but feel like your own city has nothing to offer? Come to Dublin. With over 50 percent of the population under the age of 30, it should, statistically speaking, be easy to find a date. Once you find that lovely person to take out, you need to know how to make it good. Sure, you could visit the Guinness Storehouse or go on a walking tour, but you can bet a pint you won't be strolling alongside any other young Dubliners. If you've come all the way to our lovely city, you might as well see the real thing. But bear in mind that the Irish aren't the most romantic of nationalities; you'll have a great day, but don't be expecting Paris.

Start off your day in George's Street Arcade, a Victorian-style shopping market where you can wander amongst the numerous little stalls selling everything from ancient army medals to fake Converse. Don't forget to stop for a cup of tea (an Irish staple – strong, with enough milk to turn it an unappealing beige colour) in Simon's Place, which also sells a mean scone.

To impress your date with your intellectualism, head to Books Upstairs on College Green. Just beside Trinity College, this tiny bookshop hosts an ocean of classics as well as rather obscure book titles and perhaps you'll even manage to persuade the other half to buy you something good.

Leaving the southside, take a walk across the river Liffey, stopping to take a picturesque Facebook photo on one of our lovely bridges (I recommend the Ha'penny). Make your way to the Hugh Lane Gallery, on Parnell Square, to check out the original studio of Francis Bacon, which was imported from London and recreated perfectly. While you're over there have a quiet wander around the Garden of Remembrance, which is dedicated to all those who gave their lives for the cause of Irish Freedom. It may not be a typical date venue, but it is an important part of Dublin's history and the water feature within is beautiful.

But bear in mind that the Irish aren't the most romantic of nationalities; you'll have a great day, but don't be expecting Paris.

Now, what would a date be without a trip to the cinema? Before immersing yourself in the silver screen, take a look around the National Photographic Archive, which is just beside your next stop. It looks out over bustling Temple Bar and houses some really cool exhibitions. Step outside, and you're in Meeting House Square. If you're visiting Dublin during the summer, and you're lucky, you might catch an outdoor screening of a much-loved classic here. If you don't manage that, the Irish Film Institute shows brilliant indie movies, as well as foreign films, in three old-school cinemas. The food in the IFI's restaurant is also great value, so don't forget to eat.

It should be pretty late by now, and as you know, Dublin has no shortage of pubs and bars to choose from. I would go to Hogan's Bar, a busy bar on Georges Street. If your mind is still reeling from that amazing movie whose plot you think deserves further discussion somewhere quieter, head back to the quays and the Tea Garden. Don't be put off by the rickety looking stairs leading down, you'll soon be in a shisha smoke-filled oasis of cosy couches and beaded curtains. Enjoy some fancy tea in tiny cups. The staff might even let you borrow a boardgame if you're nice.

So was your date a resounding success? Well, even if the conversation was stilted and your partner looked decidedly better last time you saw them, at least you've seen some of the cooler parts of Dublin. Silver lining and all...

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