Thursday, 7 July 2011

Dublin for the coffee?

Not too many people would consider going to Dublin for the coffee. What with St. James’s Gate and all, ‘Strumpet City’ is synonymous with the other dark drink with the frothy, creamy top.

There was a time when going for a coffee meant Bewley’s. They had a roaster in the window that filled Grafton Street with a dark and delicious aroma; a memory that is indelible. Drinking coffee elsewhere was, at the least, risky.

Not anymore: cafés are everywhere and each one offers a dark rich brew that would make a Roman smile.  My friend Phil-Lip disagrees, claiming Dutch coffee is better but he can be like that, sometimes.

Watch out for the cream though – it is delicious, sinfully delicious. It took hours of hill-climbing in Alfama to burn it all off!

Graham O’ Sullivan’s, on Dawson Street, was a hang-out back in the day – gone now and replaced by Carluccio’s – a fine establishment that caters to a crowd above the shaggy students who used to linger between lectures.

I met up with Padraig J. Daly there. He spent a number of years in Italy, speaks and writes the language, and is more than comfortable with lattes and biscotti.

He gave me his two latest books of poetry – to add to my collection that goes back to the beginning. He is a very modest and loving soul and his poetry is the same, simple and easy to read but it reverberates in the mind for hours.

Dardis Clarke joined us too – they knew each other well – and a grand time was had by all.

Graham O’ Sullivan’s might be gone but some of the old magic still lingers.

The point is that when one thinks of Dublin, one thinks of pubs. But what is often over-looked is that many Dubliners just like to get together and talk. Because of the weather, sitting on patios can be risky so most Dubliners sit inside. Even in Grogan’s the morning crowd ordered coffees, something that I never really noticed before, but that was back in the day.