A woman needs a man, like a fish needs a bicycle, good things come to those who wait, and not everything in black and white makes sense, these are just a few of the things we learned during our recent visit to The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland. Though I’m not usually a beer drinker, okay, I never drink it. Ever. I absolutely loved our visit to the Guinness Storehouse as did my kids, and if you should find yourself in Dublin I highly recommend a visit.
Follow the Signs!
Located in the St. James’s Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse is easily found, just follow the signs, and look for the large vats of what they call the Black Stuff. According to Guinness, the Storehouse is Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction with over 4 million visitors each year. In fact, according to Forbes the Guinness Storehouse is one of what they consider to be the 3 best global brand experiences* in the world!
First Things First
Per our usual, our day didn’t really get started until lunch time, so we decided to hit the cafeteria on the 5th floor first thing. There are multiple dining options, but we were too hungry to wait for a table in the more formal restaurants, so we opted for the Brewers Dining Hall. We enjoyed our food. Of course there are many Guinness inspired items on the menu, and if you’re interested you can bring home printouts of various Guinness inspired recipes!
Your Tour Starts Here:
Your self guided tour starts on the ground floor with an introduction to the four main ingredients, water, yeast, barley, and hops, with the founder Arthur Guinness making up the magical fifth ingredient. Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 year lease when he started the brewery. Apparently, he knew what he was doing because over 250 years later his beer is one of the most popular in the world.
Along the way…
While exploring the seven floors at the Storehouse you’ll learn not just what Guinness is made from, but it’s history, how it’s processed, shipped, and even how it’s poured. Here’s a fun fact: Guinness’s famous harp logo is a depiction of the Brian Boru harp, which is currently in Trinity College, and was first used by the company in 1862. In 1922 when the Irish Free State chose to use the harp as the symbol of their nation they had to use a mirror image to avoid trademark issues.
The tasting rooms on the 2nd floor are incredibly popular so you’ll have to plan in advance if you’re interested.
Floor three showcases 80 years of advertising campaigns, which we loved and afterwards had fun recognizing in all the pubs around town and every other town we visited in Ireland and just about everywhere else! We also posed with the animals and heard a whistling oyster!
We weren’t able to visit floor 2, but we were able to visit the Guinness Academy on the 4th floor, where you learn the six steps to pouring the perfect Guinness. Yes, thats right, there are six steps and there is a Guinness Academy. I must admit I was somewhat nervous… What if I didn’t do it right? Guess What? With a little bit of practice, I passed!
A few things I learned at the academy:
- Waiting for your Guinness to settle is crucial to your enjoyment.
- I like Guinness!
The Gravity Bar
The seventh stop on your tour is the Gravity Bar , which is of course located on floor 7 at the very top! The bar offers 360 degree views of Dublin and the brewery down below. Your entry fee allows for one glass of Guinness each and the Gravity Bar is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a pint! In case you’re wondering the boys had soft drinks!
One Last Stop!
Of course you know we couldn’t leave before a visit to the gift shop! They sell everything you can imagine, Guinness crisps, Guinness chocolate (tastes like Guinness), clothing, holiday ornaments, magnets, and on and on… This holiday season I’ll be enjoying my new Guinness tree bauble!
I must admit I never thought I would say that a visit to a brewery was fun, let alone a highlight or a family activity, but not only was the tour fun and informative, we loved the look and feel of everything from signage to displays and interactive galleries and I highly recommend a visit!
* Samsung’s flagship building in New York City is also on the Forbes list! You can read about my visit here! I had the honor of being one of it’s first visitors!