Dublin, Part 2: Guinness Storehouse
It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a month since I came back from Dublin – it all goes so fast! Anyway, let’s go back in time to Easter Sunday, which was spent in this beautiful city...
|Grafton Street (Image source: independent.ie)|
We started our last day in Dublin with breakfast at Bewley’s, a charming café in Grafton Street established in 1840. Even though it’s been restored recently, it’s maintained the traditional atmosphere and classic vibe, not least thanks to its famous stained-glass windows. While I chose a Danish pastry to go with my cappuccino, Marianna went for a traditional Bewley’s breakfast with eggs, sausage and black and white pudding.
We also spent some time browsing the shops in Grafton Street. Of course, we checked out H&M and Urban Decay, but I’m not ashamed to admit that the one shop we enjoyed the most was the three-storey-high Disney store. Let’s just say my parents are very lucky I didn’t know places like this existed when I was little – they’d be in debt up to their eyeballs!
Another amazing place to shop is George’s Street Arcade. This Victorian building gives the impression of a vintage market with its many tiny shops and stands. Our favourite was the antiquarian bookshop Stokes Books, specialized in Irish history and literature. Marianna bought James Joyce’s Ulysses for just 10 euros – an absolute bargain.
|George's Street Arcade (Image source: myguidedublin.com)|
We didn’t have much time to spare though as we had tickets for a tour of Guinness Storehouse, something we definitely didn’t want to miss. Even though neither of us is a big fan of beer, we knew that this experience was a must for everyone visiting Dublin and we weren’t disappointed. The tour starts on the ground floor, where you can learn a bit about the brand’s history. Fun fact: Arthur Guinness actually signed a 9000-year lease for the brewery (the year was 1759)… If you don’t believe me, see for yourself - the document is on display right there, under a glass panel on the floor of what’s now a museum dedicated to the world-famous beer.
During our tour, we found out more about the ingredients and the brewing process that make Guinness so special. We were invited to a beer tasting class, where we first smelled each of the main ingredients separately and then received a small glass of the dark goodness. We were taught to take in the unique, sweet smell of the beer and then take a small sip, tasting sweetness in the front and bitterness in the back of our tongues. Finally, we were pronounced expert beer connoisseurs.
The exhibition took us further behind the scenes of Guinness and let me tell you, it’s not just the production that matters. For example, we saw how wooden barrels are made, filled with beer and shipped all over the world. However, the part I found most interesting was advertising. Did you know that early Guinness adverts listed the supposed health benefits of beer? The brand also often featured animals in their ads, such as a sea lion, a fish riding a bike (in order to target women, the brand alluded to the famous feminist saying: “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”) and even…wait for it… a whistling oyster. Oysters used to be cheap in Ireland and people thought they go great with beer, and this is why you can now see - and hear - a giant oyster that actually whistles at the Guinness Storehouse.
There’s a free pint of Guinness included in the price of every ticket. You can use this voucher in Gravity bar, which is located on the seventh floor of the Storehouse and boasts panoramic view of the city, or you can choose to do as Marianna and I did and learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness yourself. Together with other visitors, we watched an expert who explained everything to us, step by step. Then we took turns and, to my surprise, it went quite well. Admittedly, we weren’t able to finish our pints, but we still developed a taste for the beer… And last week, I even baked a Guinness cake! (Find the recipe here.)
Having taken an obligatory photo in front of the famous logo, we crossed a few streets and a bridge to Phoenix Park, one of the largest city parks in the world. The weather wasn’t great, but at least it wasn’t raining so we walked around a little and savoured our last hours in Dublin. After a delicious dinner at a Thai restaurant, we packed our suitcases and got ready for an early flight the following morning.
|View from the 5th floor of Guinness Storehouse|
|Wellington Monument - Phoenix Park|
Have you ever been to Ireland? Which places would you recommend?