After visiting the Book of Kells at Trinity College, which is quite restrictive of its patrons’ photography attempts (so no photos, sorry), the family and I went to the Guinness Storehouse for a tour and a pint (cost included in the entrance payment).
Located at St. James’s Gate, Dublin 8, the Guinness Storehouse, once functional, is now a seven level tourist paradise (¿trap?), taking visitors through the Guinness brewing process, rooms to sample the product, and an observation level for aerial Dublin views. The tour is self guided, so you can take your time or head straight up for the free booze.
I personally found the upper floors more thrilling. I skipped the advertisement floor (because who wants more advertisement in his or her life) and went straight for the tasting room where you first get to smell the ingredients as fumes and then drink a sample in “the Velvet Room” – I know, “the Velvet Room” … Really? That name?
There is additionally a floor (the 5th if I remember correctly) dedicated to all you aspiring bartenders where you can learn to pour your own Guinness. There is actually a six step process, which an instructor teaches you in an informal 10 minute session. It isn’t as boring as it may seem; you get to pour your own beer!
You can take your personal Guinness to the observation level on the seventh floor or to the other floors above where you can sample more types of Guinness (the one you may make yourself is the classic Stout) or get a quick bite of something savory to accompany your drink.
Tips for the Guinness Tour
1. Buy tickets online to skip the lines beforehand.
2. Take your time; you can just wander through the storehouse.
3. See everything! The queues after the tickets are separated into groups to make them go faster. It won’t take forever.
4. Pour your own Guinness; it’s actually pretty fun, especially when there is one person who can’t really follow the steps. It is entertaining to watch.
5. Go to the gift shop (to meet the super nice cashiers). There is some cool merchandise, but meeting a charming fellow with a brilliant Gaelic name at the register was more valuable than anything Guinness was selling.
Up next, a pub crawl! Then, we are heading toward Galway tomorrow. I’m excited, but I’ll miss Dublin and its fantastic residents. The taxi driver we took back after the tour was a treat, talking with us about Irish people around the world, Irish history (well, its past invasions at least), and Guinness before it went capitalist. I hope Galways clicks with me as much as this city has. I guess we’ll find out won’t we. Stay tuned for Galway, Dingle, and Kilkenny!