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The Wanderlust Date
Travel is one of the best ways to open your mind, explore new cultures, and create unforgettable experiences. Unfortunately, traveling requires two things in abundance: time and money. So while we would love to travel far and wide all year long, it is not always practical. That's why we've come up with a way to explore new places and cultures right from home: The Wanderlust Date.
With this date idea, you and your partner can get a taste of different cuisines, take in world art, and even take a virtual tour of some of the most incredible places in the world. While it is no replacement for the real thing (for that we have tons of recommendations also), taking the time to explore new places at home can be just as worthwhile. Plus, you might just find your next real travel destination.
To get started on your world-wide tour, download our printable FREE Wanderlust Passport. Add more pages as you go as a record of all of the destinations you have explored.
Ireland, the Emerald Isle
This week your destination is Ireland, the Emerald Isle. Beyond how other cultures have stereotyped it (forget the leprechauns, silly songs, and green beer) Ireland has a rich culture and varied history worthy of exploring.
We've taken the essential parts of traveling—speaking a new language, eating foreign cuisine, sightseeing, engaging with the culture—and incorporated them into this easy date. All you have to do is print out the date night kit at the bottom of the page, gather your materials, and get wanderlusting.
What’s included in the printable date night kit? An invite to get your date excited, a passport stamp to record the visit to your wanderlust destination (get the passport above), recipes for a traditional Irish dinner and dessert, a language guide to teach you some romantic phrases in Irish, name tags just for fun, a digital scavenger hunt to get you learning more about the culture, and The Gift of Gab, a creative game to help spark some romance at the end of the night. We’ve gone into further detail about each aspect of the date below.
Americans tend to be ignorant of the Irish language but it remains a proud part of Irish culture. In fact, while it is spoken less and less frequently in Ireland, many signs around Ireland are written both in English and Irish. (For those confused, Irish is a Gaelic language but it is not the only one. That’s why they do not refer to it as “Gaelic” but rather “Irish.” Gaeilge, pronounced gwal-gah, is the word in Irish for the Irish language, which is where the word “Gaelic” comes from.)
Romance your date and learn to speak a little bit of Irish with our romantic Irish phrases, included in the printables. You’ll be able to say, “I love you, my one and only” and more. Don’t worry—we’ve included a pronunciation guide to help you out. But what good are the phrases without fitting names? On this date you can also pick one of the classic Irish names to go by for the evening, pronunciation and meanings included.
If you don’t think of Ireland for its food, you have been missing out. Beyond corned beef and cabbage (a meal hardly eaten in Ireland at all anymore since the invention of the refrigerator), there are many Irish dishes worth bestowing on your table.
At the forefront of the Irish food movement is Darina Allen, founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School. Darina Allen focuses on using simple, local ingredients to create flavorful dishes. She harkens back to traditional Irish cooking in hopes of bringing a new mindset to home chefs in Ireland and abroad.
Matthew and I have had the pleasure of visiting Ballymaloe ourselves. It is not only a cooking school but also a farm, garden, hotel, and restaurant. Ever since visiting, we have used several of Darina Allen’s recipes and they are what inspired the easy Irish recipes we’re sharing with you in our printable date night kit below, including Beef and Guinness Stew, Champ, Irish Soda Bread, and Irish Apple Cake.
(Learn how you can visit Ballymaloe on your next trip to Ireland here.)
Admittedly, sightseeing can be difficult from a distance. But with Google Arts & Culture, as well as virtual tours, you can now see Ireland from your living room. In our printables we’ve included a digital scavenger hunt of Trinity College Library, one of the oldest and most renowned libraries in the world. Explore their online exhibitions and learn about some of the oldest known manuscripts of the bible. Also see 360 degree images of some of Ireland’s most famous sights and take a virtual tour of the Cliffs of Moher. Click on the images below to get sightseeing.
Art can convey culture far better than anything else. That’s why we’ve included a list of Ireland in the movies. Since we want to keep your date night upbeat, we’ve left out some of the more bleak movies. There should be something on the list for everybody.
The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea are both animated features that would be suitable for a younger audience if you want the kids to be able to join in. That said, they are also good for adults. Leap Year, Brooklyn, Ondine, Once and The Quiet Man are all romances, though they are not all comedies. Leap Year is the only one in the “rom-com” category. Walking Ned Devine and Sing Street are both off-beat comedies while The Crying Game is a thriller.
Ten Movies about Ireland:
Song of the Sea (2014)
The Secret of Kells (2010)
Leap Year (2010)
The Quiet Man (1952)
The Crying Game (1992)
Sing Street (2016)
Waking Ned Devine (1998)
Lastly, since this is a date after all, we’ve included a fun game inspired by the Blarney Stone called The Gift of Gab: A Game for Lovers. In it, you try to deceive your partner using your gift of eloquence—or lack there of. All the while you get to learn a little about Irish legend and myth. It’s easy to learn and easy to download in the date night kit below.
Now that you’ve got a taste of what this date night has in store for you, here are the step-by-step instructions.
The Wanderlust Date: Destination Ireland
Time: 4+ hours | Cost: $$ | Location: At Home | Level: Intermediate
As your date walks through the door, soothing Celtic music floods the room. You hand them their ticket and passport because you are off to Ireland. Choose Irish names by which you will refer to each other throughout the night, muttering romantic phrases in each other's ears, and cook your Irish meal together. After you eat, or while the Beef and Guinness Stew simmers, explore the online exhibitions of Dublin’s Trinity College Library using our digital scavenger hunt. See more sights, like the Cliffs of Moher, then finish the evening off with a romantic game and an Irish movie. Sláinte!
Printable Date Night Kit (below)
Printable Wanderlust Passport (above)
Movie of Choice
Meal Ingredients (See Recipe Cards)
Computer or Smart TV for Virtual Tours
Download the free printables below and print. Cut out the pieces (we recommend using a portable paper cutter like this one to make it fast and clean). Then, gather your materials.
Deliver the invite tickets and passport to your date. You could leave it out on the counter one morning, send it via snail mail, pin it to your fridge, or come up with something else creative.
On the night of, decide which Irish moniker you each would like. Refer to your date by their Irish name and speak to each other with the romantic phrases we have provided throughout the night.
Cook dinner together using our recipes and listening to our playlist (think Irish pub music). Or treat your date! Prepare dinner in advance and serve it up in style. Just be sure to give yourself enough time.
After dinner, do some virtual sightseeing. See Trinity College’s famous library using our digital scavenger hunt, take a virtual tour of the Cliffs of Moher, and get 360 degree views of other iconic spots.
Then, watch one of our suggested movies. We have provided a varied selection so you are sure to find something you'll both like.
Finally, pucker up and kiss the Blarney store with our Gift of Gab Game. See where it leads you…
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This post was last updated March 14, 2019.