Shannon Crafts and Coffee Dock is a seasonal cafe in Athlone by the River Shannon. It opens in spring and summer to make the most of the outdoor space and the views.

I went on a glorious September sunny day for a short coffee break. I sat at one of the tables outside, regrettably I didn’t have much time because I had to go back to work. I ordered a double espresso and I congratulated the owner, Regina, because the coffee was very aromatic. She told me she orders it from independent roasters in Galway. When you have espresso the taste of the coffee beans must be the right balance between bitter, sweet and slightly acidic. It takes a lot of mastery to get the right flavour.

Shannon Crafts and Coffee Dock Athlone

When I chatted to Regina I discovered that she has been living in Athlone for more than a decade. She moved from Germany and she is an excellent baker: she makes all the cakes on sale at the cafe. I had a quick glance and saw a very tempting black forest gateau, for example, that was calling my name. Such a shame I didn’t have enough time. She talked very passionately about her baking. The cafe itself is just under ten years old and it opens just as the weather turns milder. During the winter there is less passing trade so it makes sense to “hibernate” when it’s too cold outside. Having said that, Irish summers can be very rainy, but thankfully the cafe has a good indoor seating area.

Best Views in Athlone

This cafe certainly has one of the best views in Athlone overlooking the river and the luxury yachts moored nearby. It is located on the Strand, opposite Athlone Castle. In fact, it made me wonder – with such a good location, it can serve those venues such as Athlone Castle and the Luan Gallery as they don’t have their own cafe.

You can also do some people-watching as you sip your coffee or tea: The Strand is such a pleasant promenade with very little traffic.

Shannon Crafts and Coffee Dock Athlone

Ambience at Shannon Crafts and Coffee Dock

From the décor, hinting at the sailing on the River Shannon, you can see that the cafe has an informal and homely feel. The service is very friendly and, if you have the time, you can really enjoy having a leisurely tea break or lunch break soaking up the sun rays. Lunch options include freshly prepared sandwiches, wraps and soups.

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