Bucket List Check #2 - Guinness Storehouse Tour
This summer I traveled to Ireland with my husband, Mike. A major highlight on our trip was to the Guinness Storehouse. If you do one thing in Ireland, it's go to a pub, listen to some U2 and The Cranberries, and have a pint of beer! I booked my trip on Viator, which was super easy, and got us a speed pass ticket to the Guinness Storehouse, which I felt was a good investment, because it's considered to be Ireland's #1 tourist attraction. Moving to the front of the line never felt (or tasted) so good.
The first thing you see, are the gates to the Storehouse, which marks the entrance. The Storehouse was built in 1902 as the St. James' Gate Brewery and served as the fermentation plant for making Guinness. It was closed in 1988, but renovated (in the shape of a pint glass) and reopened in 1997 as the official visitor center for Guinness. The cool thing about this building is that each floor explains the process of how Guinness is made and the history of beer. (Plus, let's be honest...having a bar on almost every floor for a taste test doesn't hurt either!)
Upon entering the museum you will see on the ground floor Mr. Arthur Guinness' original lease for the space to manufacture Guinness that he signed in 1759. What's so special about this lease? Well, the lease is for.... 9,000 years. Now that's some serious confidence in your business! That kind of thinking is probably one reason Guinness has been around so long. Apparently Arthur inherited 100 pounds when his godfather passed away, and he invested it by starting his own brewery at the tender age of 27.
As you make your way through each floor, you'll learn about the ingredients, brewing, transport, and cooperage used to make Guinness, as well as their advertising campaigns over the years. My favorite parts were learning about how the barley is malted to make the dark color of the stout, as well as watching the old time videos of the coopers making the wooden casks. Apparently, becoming a cooper was quite an involved process, that included many years of apprenticeship, as well as being able to pass an initiation ritual involving going down a hill in a barrel. Yikes..
The best part of the tour, was obviously getting to taste a freshly poured pint of Guinness at the top of the museum in the Gravity Bar, which gives you fantastic bird's eye views of Dublin. You could take a special tour where you learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness (which by the way, takes about 119 seconds), but we didn't sign up for it and there were no more tours available. Boo hoo. Next time.
At the Gravity Bar enjoying our pint. Yum!
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