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The Merrion Hotel

The Merrion Hotel

Ballyfin House Aerial front view (1)

Ballyfin Comes to the Merrion

You are invited to a marriage of two great houses

Bringing fascinating stories and wonderful food to Dublin in January, Ballyfin comes to the Merrion Hotel

The multi-award winning Ballyfin in rural County Laois is Ireland’s most beautiful and romantic country house hotel.

We are delighted to welcome Chef Sam Moody to The Merrion. Sam’s incredible food won a Michelin star at the acclaimed Bath Priory, before he came to Ballyfin in 2016. Now he joins Merrion Executive Chef Ed Cooney and his team for five days, from January 29th to February 2nd 2020.

Your special experience

7.00pm. Join us as we welcome you with a complimentary glass of champagne. Then enjoy a brief and fascinating conversation about the life and times of these great houses with notable experts.

7.30pm Dinner will be served in the gorgeous Garden Room where a stunning five course tasting menu will be created and executed by Sam Moody.

Discover the menu here

A Sunday Lunch on February 2nd at 1.00pm concludes this special event.

The price for this unique experience is €75.00 per person, per event.


Talks are as follows:

On Wednesday January 29th Discover how women created the Irish Country House with Robert O’Byrne

On Thursday January 30th Bridget Hourican talks about love letters. Love letters, like, family portraits, are our window into the lives of the great Irish houses

On Friday January 31st William Laffan will throw a spotlight on the impressive Art collections of both the Merrion Hotel and Ballyfin

On Saturday February 1st Explore the stories of the Merrion and Ballyfin with Gemma Tipton

On Sunday ( Lunch) February 2nd Enjoy a coffee conversation with Chefs Sam Moody and Ed Cooney where they will talk about their love of food and the latest food trends

Pre – Booking Essential

For more information or to book please call: + 353 01 6030608 or email

To purchase a gift voucher please call + 353 01 6030660 or email

Add to your evening with an overnight in luxury accommodation at the Merrion, followed by a full Irish breakfast the next morning. Book here

Please see further information on talks and speakers below

The speakers

Dinner Wednesday January 29th Discover how women created the Irish Country House, with Robert O’Byrne

My new apartment will be very handsome,’ wrote Mary Delany in July 1744, describing the rooms she was then decorating at Delville, County Dublin. She was not alone: during the Georgian era many chatelaines across Ireland embarked on a similar task. Drawing on contemporary inventories, letters and journals, Robert explores the role of women in designing Ireland’s great country houses.

Robert O’Byrne is a writer and lecturer specialising in the fine and decorative arts in Ireland, and the author of more than a dozen books, among them Luggala: The Story of a Guinness House and Romantic Irish Homes. A former Vice-President of the Irish Georgian Society, he is currently a trustee of the Apollo Foundation and the Artists Collecting Society. He writes a monthly column for Apollo magazine, and is also a contributor to The Burlington Magazine and the Irish Arts Review. Since 2012 he has written an award-winning blog, and a book of his photographs from this – The Irish Aesthete: Ruins of Ireland - was published in March 2019.

Dinner Thursday January 30th Bridget Hourican talks about love letters

We are at our most unguarded when we are most in love and love letters are the most fascinating portal we have into human emotion and into the past. The survival of hand-written missives from generation to generation, through political upheaval, economic turmoil and the rise and fall of family fortunes, is a kind of miracle. Love letters, like family portraits, are our window into the lives of the great Irish houses.

Bridget Hourican is an author, journalist and historian. Her books include Straight from the Heart, Irish Love Letters (Gill & Macmillan), The Bad Karma Diaries (O’Brien Press) and multiple entries in the Dictionary of Irish Biography (Cambridge University Press). She is currently working on a biography of the romantic poet, James Clarence Mangan.

Dinner Friday January 31st Spotlight on art with William Laffan

The Merrion’s art collection is renowned as one of the finest private collections in Ireland, and guests enjoy living with such wonderful works. Ballyfin too is home to a wealth of extraordinarily rich and remarkable art works. William will share insights into the works, which range from seventeenth-century portraits and eighteenth-century landscapes, to twentieth century masterworks by Roderic O’Conor, William Orpen, Jack Yeats and William Scot – and finally to the work of contemporary artists such as Kathy Prendergast, Dorothy Cross and Brian Maguire.

William Laffan is an art historian, curator and the author of many books on Irish art.

Dinner Saturday February 1st Explore stories of the Merrion and Ballyfin with Gemma Tipton

If these walls could talk… Did you know that the Merrion and Ballyfin were once the homes of two brothers, one of whom would win fame and glory as The Duke of Wellington? Look more closely at the Great Houses of Ireland to discover the stories of the people who shaped our history. From great wealth, to dreams of revolution, love, betrayal and intrigue, these magnificent rooms have seen it all.

Gemma Tipton writes about art, architecture and culture for The Irish Times, as well as publications including ImageCaraFrieze and Artforum. Author and editor of numerous books, including a history of the Merrion, she is particularly passionate about the stories behind the buildings and things that surround us.

Lunch Sunday February 2nd The food philosophies of Sam Moody and Ed Cooney

After your delicious Sunday Lunch Special Tasting Menu, join chefs Sam Moody and Ed Cooney for a coffee conversation about their love of food, working with Irish ingredients, how they create their signature dishes, and the latest food trends – all peppered with tips to take home with you.

Before joining The Merrion in 1997, Executive Chef Ed Cooney worked at some of the finest hotels and restaurants in Scotland and England, including the celebrated Craigendarroch Hotel and Country Club, Royal Deeside, where The Oaks gourmet restaurant held the Michelin Red M. He then joined The Regent Four Seasons London, now known as The Landmark Hotel, before returning to Ireland. A champion of artisan food producers, Ed is a believer in provenance. Each ingredient should have a taste unique to where it’s from – just like a bottle of wine.

Sam Moody has been working at the very top end of the hotel industry for the past 17 years. He won and then maintained a Michelin star at the Bath Priory for 5 years, and has a Hotel Catey to his name. Sam has always focussed on developing and training his team and holds them key to his success. Sam also loves to teach at local colleges, helping to inspire the next generation of chefs. He is a keen fisherman, enjoys walking and the country side. He loves food and restaurants.

In conversation with Gemma Tipton

Pre-booking essential. For more information or to book call + 01 6030608 or email



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