Walk for a couple of hundred yards in central Dublin and you will inevitability pass a couple of cafés. The quality and the price of the cup of coffee on offer will be variable. In almost all cases you will have to linger as you wait patiently for your turn for service and hope that there will be a table free by the time your reach the head of the queue.
Coffee in The Merrion (a five-star hotel) on Dublin’s Merrion Street is an altogether different experience. The interconnecting and beautifully portioned drawing rooms where coffee is served are oases of Georgian calm in the middle of the city. The muted decor provides the perfect backdrop to the Merrion’s museum quality collection of paintings. The core of the collection is Irish art (approx ninety percent) and runs the gamut from the 18th Century to work by contemporary artists. The roll call of painters whose works are on display includes; Jack Butler Yeats, Nathaniel Hone, John Lavery, Paul Henry and William Leech.
The service is unobtrusive, friendly and professional; the coffee is good. On warm sunny days you can use one of the tables set up in the courtyard garden.
A latte costs €5.50 but you get so much more than a coffee; there are of course the stunning paintings and also the chance to while away an hour or so in an elegant city centre haven.