Rachel Gaffney’s Letter From Texas

The famous foodie who’s flying the tricolour for us in Texas relishes the quiet elegance of a small hotel with American connections on Dublin’s most famous Georgian square.  

People collect and love all sorts of weird and wonderful things. From vintage cookbooks, stamps and antiques to old postcards and comics. We are also drawn to certain colours and items for reasons we do not fully understand, but it doesn’t really matter if it gives us pleasure and joy. I have a love and obsession for doors for as long as I can remember. Someone asked me once if I knew why and something did immediately come to mind. Doors are portals of discovery for me. House doors, gates, cupboard doors and more, but I digress.
The Georgian doors of Dublin, now here are some beautiful doors, but do you ever wonder what’s really behind them? I do, all the time.
During my most recent trip to Ireland, I visited Stauntons On The Green, an hotel overlooking St Stephens Green in Dublin. The Iveagh Gardens are located to the rear and the wonderful Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) - with its artisan treats at The Commons Café Tue-Sun, 10.30am-5pm) - is next door.
Billed ‘For An Elegant Stay in Dublin’, it is indeed an elegant property and perfect for those who wish to stay in Dublin city centre. The furnishing are soft and timeless and it is surprisingly quiet for a city centre hotel. But what really caught my attention and piqued my interest was the connection between this property and the Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago. In 1879 the Nickerson family began building their home, following the loss of their previous one in the great fire of Chicago, and completed it in 1883. This was during America’s ‘Gilded Age’. In 2003, the property was purchased and meticulously restored by financier Richard H. Driehaus and, in 2008, The Richard H. Driehaus Museum was opened to the public. Driehaus was known for his love of art, architecture and design. He was an avid collector, but more importantly he dearly wanted to share this with the public.
In 2017, this remarkable man acquired Stauntons On The Green. Expect many delights when walking around the property, down to the smallest of details - I noticed, for example, that the numbered plates on each bedroom door are made by Belleek. As you descend the stairs, there are views overlooking the courtyard gardens and the walls are adorned with watercolours by Marc Velten and oil paintings by Irish painter William Crampton Gore, to name but a few. At the end of one of the corridors on the ground floor is a magnificent stained glass window, The Blessed Julie and Two Children by renowned Irish stained glass artist, Harry Clarke (see right). Sadly Richard H. Driehaus passed away in 2021 but his love of art, architecture and design and his love for sharing it with the public lives on here in Stauntons On The Green.


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