Made to order cakes from Kerry

Leap Year Proposals in Ireland: When Women Take the Lead in Matters of the Heart

In Irish culture, the tradition of women proposing on Leap Day, particularly on February 29th, continues to be a delightful aspect, evolving with changing attitudes towards relationships. Also known as Bachelor’s Day, this custom offers a playful departure from conventional practices, allowing women to initiate proposals or dances during leap years. Its origins are steeped in the captivating legends of Saint Bridget and Saint Patrick.

The Tradition of Leap Year Proposals in Ireland

According to the legends, Saint Bridget, addressing the frustrations of women awaiting marriage proposals, approached Saint Patrick for a solution. In a response marked by generosity and a hint of whimsy, Saint Patrick is said to have granted women the right to propose on Leap Day. This arrangement blossomed into a long-standing tradition, transforming February 29th into a day when traditional gender roles are momentarily set aside, empowering women to express their romantic intentions with confidence and flair. Over time, this custom has matured into a celebration of love and empowerment, with Irish couples seizing the chance to imprint their personal touch on this endearing practice.

Modern-Day Leap Year Proposals

In modern times, this tradition continues as a beloved part of Irish culture, adapting to contemporary perspectives on relationships. Couples often embrace this tradition, appreciating its deviation from usual norms. The decision to engage in such proposals today varies, depending on individual preferences and the values within a relationship.

For some, this occasion presents an opportunity to challenge traditional gender roles and create a unique proposal story, adding to a joyous celebration of love. In today’s society, marked by a growing emphasis on equality and personal expression, this tradition finds relevance among those who value the symbolic act of defying societal norms.

However, such customs may not appeal to every couple. You may feel that they are outdated and not for you, but if you are open to proposing to your man or woman this leap year, you can always add your own twist and spin on the date. It is, after all, your love story.

Upcoming Leap Year Dates

Here are the next upcoming dates of the Leap Years that you can use to plan your proposal:

Romantic Locations in Kerry for Your Leap Year Proposal

So, how do you want to propose on February the 29th? Well, as it’s an Irish tradition, why not take a note out of Amy Adams’ character’s plan and propose in Ireland? Here are a few suggestions of locations that I would choose in Kerry to give some romance and spark to the occasion.

As I live and work in Kerry creating wedding and engagement cakes, here are my favourite romantic locations to pop the question. Do remember that February in Kerry can be a cold, wet, and dark place to be. So if you do go for an outdoor proposal, remember to wrap up warm, take a hip flask to take the nip out of the air, and go early, darkness comes at around 5 pm.

  1. Muckross House, Killarney:
    A Victorian mansion set in the stunning Killarney National Park. The elegant interior is perfect for a classy proposal.
    [Muckross House website]
  2. Ballyseede Castle, Tralee:
    Imagine proposing in a castle setting; it’s like a fairy tale!
    [Ballyseede Castle website]
  3. Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare:
    Overlooking the picturesque Sheen Waterfalls, it offers a cosy and luxurious atmosphere.
    [Sheen Falls Lodge website]
  4. The Europe Hotel & Resort, Killarney:
    With panoramic views of the Lakes of Killarney, it’s a gorgeous spot for a memorable proposal.
    [The Europe Hotel & Resort website]
  5. Gap of Dunloe, Co. Kerry:
    A narrow mountain pass with stunning views, perfect for a scenic and serene proposal.
    [Gap of Dunloe map]
  6. Torc Waterfall:
    A hike to Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park leads to a breathtaking natural wonder. The sight and sound of the waterfall create a romantic atmosphere.
    [Torc Waterfall map]
  7. Ladies View:
    This famous viewpoint in Killarney National Park offers stunning vistas of the Lakes of Killarney and the surrounding mountains. It’s a popular spot for proposals.
    [Ladies View map]
  8. Coumeenole Beach:
    This hidden gem on the Dingle Peninsula offers a secluded and rugged backdrop for a proposal.
    [Coumeenole Beach map]
  9. Derrynane Beach:
    The golden sands of Derrynane Beach, framed by lush greenery, provide a serene backdrop for a beachfront proposal.
    [Derrynane Beach map]
  10. Parknasilla Resort & Spa, Sneem:
    This coastal resort has inviting fireside lounges and panoramic views of the sea, making it an ideal spot for a proposal.
    [Parknasilla Resort & Spa website]

Romantic Movie Locations in Ireland

If the previous locations in Kerry are not on your map, there are many places in Ireland that have been the backdrop for many romantic movies. Here are some of the iconic locations from popular romantic films set in Ireland:

Leap Year:

  • Dún Aonghasa, Inishmore:
    This location on the Aran Islands was where the memorable final proposal scene was filmed.
    [Dún Aonghasa, Inishmore map]
  • Rock of Dunamase, County Laois:
    The scenes involving Ballycarbery Castle were a blend of the Rock of Dunamase and CGI. This spot offers great views of the Slieve Bloom Mountains.
    [Rock of Dunamase map]
  • Glendalough, County Wicklow:
    The beautiful Glendalough area, with its serene lough and mountains, was the backdrop for the wedding scene in the film.
    [Glendalough map]
  • St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin:
    After the wedding scene, Anna and Declan are seen walking through St Stephen’s Green, which was the setting for a romantic scene on the Stone Bridge.
    [St. Stephen’s Green website]

P.S. I Love You: 

  • Blessington Lakes, Co. Wicklow:
    This stunning setting was used for a humorous fishing trip scene involving the main character, Holly, and her friends.
    [Blessington Lakes map]
  • Sally Gap, Powerscourt Mountain, Co. Wicklow:
    Recognizable as the spot where Holly reminisces about her first meeting with Gerry, showcasing the picturesque Wicklow Mountains.
    [Sally Gap map]
  • Ballysmuttan Bridge, Co. Wicklow:
    Featured early in the film, this bridge is part of Holly’s journey in the Wicklow Mountains.
    [Ballysmuttan Bridge map]
  • Whelan’s Bar, Co. Dublin:
    This popular Dublin bar was a key location where Holly recalls memories with Gerry, including a scene where the song “Galway Girl” is performed.
    [Whelan’s Bar website]
  • Kilruddery House, Bray, Co. Wicklow:
    The estate’s charming cottage serves as the accommodation for Holly and her friends during their stay in Ireland.
    [Kilruddery House website]

Not everyone is a soppy movie lover, but there are locations to suit all tastes in Ireland. For the fans of epic adventures and space odysseys:

  • Star Wars at Skellig Michael, County Kerry:
    Although not accessible for the 29th February, you can see the island from lots of locations on the Skellig Ring and coast road.
    [Skellig view map]

And for those who enjoy mediaeval fantasy:

  • Game of Thrones:
    Various locations across Northern Ireland, including the Dark Hedges in County Antrim (the Kingsroad) and Castle Ward in County Down (Winterfell).
    [Dark Hedges map]
    [Castle Ward website]

Ireland offers a diverse range of settings for proposals, from historic castles to rugged coastlines, making it a land of romantic possibilities for couples in love.

Ending the Day with Gabi Bakes Cakes

After an enchanting proposal in one of Ireland’s romantic locations, what better way to end the day than with a delightful cake from Gabi Bakes Cakes? Celebrate your love story with a custom-designed cake that adds a sweet touch to your memorable day. Whether you prefer a classic design or something uniquely personalised, Gabi Bakes Cakes is here to make your celebration even sweeter.

In the end, your Leap Year proposal in Ireland becomes a chapter in your love story, filled with tradition, romance, and the promise of a sweet future together. Cheers to love and unforgettable moments!

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