Level 3 (and 4) life: 3 virtual date nights to try out (while waiting for normality) 1 week ago

Level 3 (and 4) life: 3 virtual date nights to try out (while waiting for normality)

Level 3...

Just when life had started to take on a slightly more normal (or, at least, new normal), we are back to Level 3 again, and date nights (unless you are willing to freeze to death outside a bar or restaurant while speed-eating your dinner before it goes cold) are once more confined to our own homes.

But before you get changed into pjs and flick on Netflix (again), how about this: Why not try to actually have a bit of an actual date night, even though you are 'stuck' at home? Here are three fun ways to enjoy your virtual night 'out' this week – just add some IRL wine and sure you are good to go:

1. Visit a gallery

Museum or gallery dates are a classic.

But in lieu of going to one in real life, how about taking a virtual tour – and maybe fall in love with a piece of art you want to hang in your own home?

The Kevin Kavanagh Gallery on Dublin's Chancery Lane is considered one of Ireland's most dynamic contemporary visual art galleries, and has participated in many international art fairs including, London Art Fair, VOLTA NY New York, Aqua Miami and ARCO Madrid – among others. 

And right now, Dublin artist Margaret Corcoran is having a virtual exhibition of some of her more recent work at the gallery, and the beautiful, vibrant paintings are truly worth a visit.

The collection on show is mostly painted during lockdown, and is aptly named Noli Timere – Do Not Be Afraid.

"These words – Noli Timere – texted from our poet Seamus Heaney to his wife before he died - has been a gift and comfort to me and also to the nation and the world. The words provide meaning and strength. Bright colours became a cure and an invigoration. Learning from the ways of other cultures and countries to transcend the challenges of life has helped forge a sense of belonging and togetherness through the work.

Sometimes - behind the scenes - I found myself engaging in conversations across the globe on the challenges of lockdown and also the spiritual opportunities to grow in this new global reality. I can say that I have grown. The work has also grown in vigour and strength - because I felt that by painting, I could bring positivity to a very harsh situation. I hoped that if I painted works that brought a moment of beauty to our lives then that would be my contribution."

Margaret Corcoran's collection is available to view (and for sale) virtually at the Kevin Kavanagh gallery until October 17th.

2. Visit the Giant's Causeway

Ever get around to visiting the Giant's Causeway in person? Fear not – now you can see this area of immense natural beauty from the comfort of your own home.

The Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim is a must-see, really – so make sure you do take an actual trip up when the pandemic restrictions end – but in the meantime, sit back and enjoy the 40,000 interlocking basalt columns along with a clatter of magnificent coastal scenery from your sofa.

If you love mythology, you probably are familiar with the legend of the Giants Causeway, starring a giant named Fionn Mac Cumhaill and his battle with a Scottish giant.

Want to see these majestic stone steps for yourself?

You can head off on a virtual a tour of the mighty Giants Causeway on the National Trust website.

3. Solve a virtual escape room

Want to try a date night with a difference?

Why not test out a virtual escape room? An escape room, if you haven't tried one, is an immersive problem-solving scenario, where you are literally in a room trying to follow clues, usually tied to a fictional situation, in a limited amount of time.

For example, this Harry Potter-themed room was created by a public library Pennsylvania, US, and honestly, it sounds like the best way to spend an evening at home – just add wine, and you are good to go.

How does it work? After being sorted into your house and eating dinner with your classmates, you head to your house common room. Before you settle into your room with your roommates, you prefect announces you have a team-building exercise. Suddenly, the room goes dark and the door slams, and your muggle-born roommate figures out it's an escape room. You all check your robes, and discover no one has their wands.

Once the Hogwarts escape room parameters are set, you'll have to answer a series of questions, which are accompanied by relevant photos, correctly to finish the game. You can do the escape room as a team with your family and friends. Or if you're looking for some competition, you can challenge them to see who's the most brilliant wizard.

There you go. Never say you're stuck for date ideas again.