Fitting in whilst on a visit to Dublin is easy. The locals are a calm, friendly and welcoming bunch, so provided you’re not anti-social, you’ll do fine. If however you still want to fully embrace your Irishness and receive approving nods from the natives (by no means guaranteed), you can’t go wrong by sipping on a cool, malty pint of smooth, ruby-red Guinness (which in vegan, of course).
Doing so is fairly straightforward. There are hundreds of pubs in the city centre where staff will be happy to pour you a silky pint of the “black stuff”. If though you want your first Dublin-based taste of Guinness to be special, consider heading to the very place it’s brewed.
The Guinness Storehouse is the company’s huge, elaborate and interactive museum & experience and one of Dublin top tourist attractions. Set on the site where the magic began and where gallons of beer are still being produced daily, the Guinness Storehouse has been a regular attraction on Dublin “Must Do” lists since it opened in 2000.
According to a recent Guinness press release, 1 in 2 holiday-makers who visit Dublin, visit the Storehouse. In 2014, this equated to 1.25 million people pouring through the doors.
Visiting the Home of Guinness
On our recent trip to Dublin, Jade and I dropped by to find out why visitors numbers are so healthy. Within minutes of arriving, our excitement levels rose and our interest in the history of Guinness was suddenly captured. Neither of us had even tried Guinness before, yet suddenly we found ourselves keen to start learning about the brewing process.
Perhaps it was the atmospheric lights and the hubbub in the entrance lobby? Perhaps it was the wide range of merchandise emblazoned with the Guinness logo in the gift shop? Maybe it’s because we’re suckers for pretty lights, water features and projections? Whatever it was, we were surprised to find ourselves fascinated by the interactive displays highlighting core ingredients and the complexity of cultivating crops.
Having had our curiosity in where Guinness sources its hops from satisfied, we were then encouraged by a man on a screen to enter a darker room. Here, we found out about Arthur Guinness, the man who set up the Guinness brewery business back in 1759. Actors on screens shared lots on information about the man, his philosophy and how he managed to get a 9000 year lease on the 4 acres of land the brewery is still sat on for just £45 a year.
On we went. Escalators took us up to exhibitions covering how Guinness was and is distributed and advertised and how the original barrels were lovingly made by hand. It was all genuinely very interesting.
Our first ever taste of Guinness
On the second floor, the moment came for us to try Guinness for the first time. And what better place to try in but in the ‘Taste Experience’. Here we were given a tiny glass and taught the art of fully appreciating Guinness, from standing bolt upright to taking full control of all five of our senses.
With tuition, we took our first sips into the world of Guinness drinking.
We held our judgement. We knew a proper adult-sized taste was to follow. With every adult ticket comes a complimentary pint from one of three bars. Those keen to find out how to properly pour a glass of Guinness head to the Guinness Academy. Those looking for a quiet sit-down after experiencing all the Guinness-based fun head to Arthur’s Bar. Everyone else though heads to the seventh floor, home of the famous Gravity Bar.
Here, Jade and I contentedly sipped on our complimentary pints of (vegan) Guinness whilst enjoying (almost) 360 DEGREE views of Dublin city centre and beyond.
It was a fabulous end to a genuinely fun tour of the Storehouse. It had done what I’m sure the designers had intended; to make us Guinness fans. Jade and I walked in never having tasted Guinness and with no prior knowledge of how the Guinness empire came to be. We walked out full to the brim of Guinness facts and keen to find out where we were going to find our next pint.
We enjoyed ourselves and got slightly tipsy, and that’s why a visit to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is an essential part of any trip to Ireland’s capital.