A trip to Dublin wouldn’t be a trip to Dublin without a trip to the Guinness factory.
Personally, I can’t abide the stuff, but it is the biggest employer and the most well known export of the city, so it really has to be done. Our first night in Dublin we headed into a pub, and as we were there, in the place where apparently its the best you’ll ever drink, we tried it. As disgusting as I remembered from the previous times I’d tried it.
The Guinness site is huge, over 50 acres, and the entrance to the exhibition was warm and inviting after leaving a cold late November street. The Storehouse show is over seven floors, and although you dont see it, its in the shape of a massive beer glass.
It was a fascinating trip through history, the first couple of floors showing the process, the raw materials, the machinery etc. The video showing the manufacture of an oak barrel, on the third floor if memory serves, was incredible. A vestige of history, a grainy, jumpy, black and white memory of an almost dead trade.
The perpetual waterfall, with the fresh clear stuff coming from distant hills, not the Liffy as legend has it, was a beautiful and rather noisy thing.
The tasting room wasn’t reached without a slight dread, the stuff is vile. To be fair though, the young man who explained how Guinness is to be properly consumed, indicating that “The Black Stuff” actually isn’t, did his job pretty well. I actually could taste the differing flavours in the areas of my mouth that he suggested I would.
From there to the advertising floor, and the history of Guinness commercials. Scenes and adverts from my youth kicked the old grey matter, and I laughed like a drain at things I’d not seen in years. The story of the harp trademark, and the Irish national symbol is very interesting too.
And then finally onto the top floor, a circular bar with panoramic views across the whole city. The plus side is the view, the downside is the free pint you get. Still, I’ve never liked waste, so drank mine all the same.
If you’re in the city, it would be remiss of you not to come and learn a little of the history of the city’s biggest earner, just over £2 billion last year I believe.