For many people, a trip to Dublin can only mean one thing – a pint of the black stuff. Guinness is synonymous with Ireland and perhaps more importantly, Ireland’s capital. A quick walk down Temple Bar and it’s not too hard to come across groups of men and women sipping over a pint of Guinness.
Living in Northern Ireland, I’m a regular visitor to Dublin as the city is just bursting with things to do. For me a typical trip to Dublin often involves some sightseeing, a bit of shopping and then straight to the bar to enjoy the rather unique atmosphere of a Dublin pub. As they often say in Dublin, “the craic is 90”.
I recently went to Dublin to take in some of the festive atmosphere as the city counts down the days to Christmas. As part of my trip I decided to go to the home of the black stuff and visit the Guinness Storehouse. This was my first visit to the Storehouse and it is certainly a place I will be going back to and for anyone visiting Dublin, I’ve got 3 words for you – get yourself there!
What makes the Guinness Storehouse such a memorable experience?
The Guinness Storehouse is a truly magical place and within it you will find out so much about the great man behind the famous drink (Arthur Guinness) and the impact both he and his family had on the city of Dublin. There are so many reasons to visit the Guinness Storehouse on your trip to Dublin but here are my top 5:
1. The history:
The storehouse is part of both the history of Ireland and the city of Dublin and the history of the storehouse surrounds you as you go from the 1st floor to the very top floor. Indeed, the first thing you see when you enter the storehouse is the 9000 year lease that Arthur Guinness signed back in 1759. A real piece of history right at your feet. You also get a feel for the history of the brewing process and look at the techniques that have been used for the past 250 years.
2. Brewing process:
The whole journey through the storehouse is like one big journey of how Guinness is brewed. You get introduced to the 4 main ingredients (barley, hops, water and yeast) and how important each element is within the brewing stage. You learn some key facts about the brewing of Guinness like the fact that 100,000 tonnes of barley are used in the making of Guinness every year or that the water used in the brewing process comes from the Wicklow Mountains. In fact, 3 million pints of Guinness leave the gates of St James’s brewery every day. Pretty staggering! Be sure to check out the packing section and watch the skill required in years gone by to craft and prepare barrels for storing the stout.
3. The tasting room:
This is a truly unique experience and a great way to understand the different flavours that go into creating the perfect pint of Guinness. The tasting room is split into two areas, the first of which requires your sense of smell. Once you understand what goes into the stout you move on to a tasting area where a Guinness expert shows you the perfect way to drink Guinness and the process used by the Guinness team when testing every barrel. You get to enjoy a small glass of Guinness here with people you have probably never even met. Just think of it as an Irish welcome.
No trip to the storehouse would be the same without taking a walk around the advertising area of the storehouse. Take a trip down memory lane by looking at the ads of yester year and even star in your own ‘Gilroy poster’ (a famous Guinness poster). This area also allows you to look at the evolution of Guinness memorabilia, bottles and TV ads. You can also see what people are saying about Guinness around the world with the social media area.
5. The perfect pint:
There are two ways to get your perfect pint at the Guinness Storehouse. The first is to pour it yourself as you sit through a masterclass in the perfect way to pour a pint. The second is having someone else do it for you. I worked in a bar for years when I was younger and have poured 1000’s of pints of Guinness so I thought I would let someone else serve me. I took the stairs to the Gravity Bar at the very top of the Storehouse and proceeded to have what can only be described as the nicest pint of Guinness you will have anywhere in the world. The Gravity Bar also provides some breathtaking views of the Dublin skyline and there’s a fair chance you’ll even want to stay on for more.
The Guinness Storehouse is popular with visitors from all over the world and on my visit I bumped into groups from America, Germany, Sweden and Spain. It’s easy to get out to the Storehouse and a bus runs from O’Connell Street in the centre of Dublin every 10 minutes. The Storehouse is open 7 days a week from 9.30am – 5.00pm (this is the last admission).
So next time you enjoy a city break or weekend in Dublin, be sure to check out the Guinness Storehouse and enjoy the best pint of stout you are likely to ever have.