What do you do when you have a four-day weekend and you live in England? Jet off to Ireland, of course! Well, at least that’s what we did… It’s still crazy to me how cheap and fast flights are over here. We flew from London to Dublin in just one hour! Seriously, it used to take me longer to get from my neighborhood in Brooklyn to the Upper East Side.
The trip was amazing. But the absolute highlight was our visit to the Guinness Storehouse on Easter Sunday. I’ve always heard that pints of Guinness tasted different in Ireland, and I can now confirm that. (And it’s not just at the Storehouse itself–we pretty much had a Guinness at every pub we went to while we were over there, and they were all equally amazing.)
The Storehouse is a destination in itself. We arrived around 1 and didn’t leave until 5 (we probably would have stayed longer, but we had an early dinner and music pub crawl planned.) The first part of the experience involves learning about the history of the company which was started in 1759 by Arthur Guinness. Fun fact: That year, he signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 annually! If only my ancestors would have done that with a New York City apartment…
After agreeing that Arthur was a genius in his real-estate decisions, we walked around learning how they make the beer. There are fun hi-def presentations and exhibitions to show you what each step is. I like to think we’re now experts in barley, hops, water, and yeast when it comes to brewing a Guinness.
|Standing in front of the water display. The water in Guinness comes from springs in the Wicklow Mountains… in case you wanted to know.|
Oh, I forgot to mention: the entire seven-story place is built around the world’s largest pint glass (which if filled, would hold 14.3 million pints of Guinness.) We continued making our way up and came across the advertising section. I’ve always thought the old-timey ads for Guinness are just the cutest. So cute in fact, that we bought a tin version of one for our kitchen (and honestly, it’ll probably be the only advertisement I’ll ever willingly put in my home.)
|An adorable display near the advertising section|
We then got to my personal favorite part of the experience: learning how to pour the perfect pint. As we stood in line, I casually read the instructions on the wall:
Step 1. Take a cool, clean, dry Guinness glass.
Step 2. Hold the glass under the tap at a 45 degree angle.
Step 3. Pull the handle forward until it is horizontal and fill the glass to between 15mm and 20mm (about ¾”) from the top. Never put the tap spout into the Guinness.
Step 4. Leave the surge to settle (approx 119.5 secs).
Step 5. Top up the glass by pushing the tap handle backwards until the head is just proud of the glass. Do not let the stout overflow, and never use a spatula to level the head.
When we got up to the “class,” our instructor asked for a volunteer. Seriously, there were like 20 seconds of silence among the group so I decided to raise my hand (I never volunteer for things like this, but I figured since I read up on the assignment, nothing could go wrong, right?)
|Straight A student right there! 😉|
So, not to brag or anything, but I did everything perfectly. I was so freakin’ excited to taste the pint that I poured perfectly myself. But one small problem: some girl in the class stole mine!!!! See, after we topped up, we had to put our glasses on the counter to take a group picture. I obviously knew exactly where mine was, and as I was just about to grab it, the girl walked up, looked for the perfect pint (clearly), and grabbed it! I was so bummed. So, I had to grab some other stranger’s, and well, it was really quite sad. (But still good, don’t get me wrong.)
We headed to the Gravity Bar at the top of the building which features a 360 degree view of Dublin, but in the second disappointment of the day, it was tres crowded. So, we popped on down to another bar area and listened to an Irish band play as we sipped on our Guinness.
|This is what Ireland tastes like.|
It’s not really a matter of recommending a trip to the Guinness Storehouse if you’re in Dublin… that’s a given. It’s more like I’m recommending a trip to Dublin to visit the Guinness Storehouse. It’s like Disney World for people who like to drink 🙂 Click here for ticket info. *Tip: if you book online, you can save 10 percent. And if you’re if a student, bring your ID to save even more (in fact, most places in Dublin give student discounts.)
More Dublin Recommendations:
Cute Breakfast Spot– Queen of Tarts (order the raspberry scone. OMG!)
Authentic-Feeling Dinner Spot– Gallaghers Boxty House (boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake. I ordered the Corned Beef and Cabbage Boxty, and it was delish.)
Good Live Music– The Temple Bar area is probably the best spot for night life (it kind of had a Bourbon Street feel to it.) We ended up popping in/ grabbing pints at Merchants Arch and listening to a slew of performers that were all really good! Here’s a taste:
Must-Visit Tourist Attraction– The Little Museum of Dublin is just as adorable as it sounds. The tour guide was animated and every bit of the memorabilia (which literally covers the walls) has an interesting story behind it.
If You Like History– The Book of Kells at Trinity College. In addition to displaying the original works that were hand-written by monks in the 9th century, the exhibit also features a stop in a beautiful old library that is worth visiting just to take a deep breath and smell the history.
If You Like Whiskey– Old Jameson Distillery. They have a really cool tour and tasting where you compare Jameson to other brands. It’s pretty interesting!
Have you ever been to Dublin? Anything I missed? Tell me in a comment below!