If you enjoy beer, authentic pubs, and the world’s nicest people, you have to visit Ireland. Like most of us, Guinness isn’t a “go to” or even on tap at most bars back in the states, or anywhere for that matter. The Guinness factory is located several minutes outside the Temple Bar area on the south banks of the River Liffey. Dublin is easily divided by the River Liffey, which cuts through the heart of the city and defines districts north and south of the river.
We stayed 20 minutes (by bus) outside the city in an area called Liffey Valley. Somehow we lucked out and enjoyed a room that could easily sleep 4-5 people. I suppose our clothes each got their own bed.
One of the more touristy areas in town is the Temple bar. Everything seemed to be a little overpriced, but authentic nonetheless.
Walking through the Temple Bar and arriving at the Brazen Head (Oldest Pub in Ireland) one can’t help but be overwhelmed with excitement. The replicated Irish Bars back home try their best, but for any beer drinker or connoisseur of a finer whiskey, this is Heaven on Earth. This pub dates back to 1198.
The Guinness Experience, as it’s advertised, was exactly that. Cobblestones line the grounds outside the factory and black wooden gates stand tall as to guard what is widely agreed to be the world’s best looking pint.
The tour is designed to replicate a pint of Guinness from the bottom up. The self guided tour starts on top of the original 9,000-year-old lease and climbs up more than 7 stories to the Gravity bar, which is home to fine pints and an unparalleled 360-degree view of the city.
Learning about the water, barley, hops and yeast used to craft Guinness. Many people joke that Guinness Factory uses water from the River Liffey and that’s why the stout appears red/black. This is not true of course. The color comes from the roasting process.
As the tour continues, you walk through a museum of Guinness History. For most walking this tour, us included, we were ready to taste the dark stuff.
Below was a unique experience in which there are four columns emitting various smells/tastes one should get when consuming Guinness.
If you ever visit the Guinness Factory you MUST opt to pour your own pint. You have two options: Pour your own pint and walk up to Gravity Bar, or walk up to the Gravity Bar and let someone else pour it for you… Oh, and if you have a fun group you might even get more than a pint. Always volunteer.
Now, that’s a damn fine pint!
Take your pint up to the Gravity Bar and enjoy your beer from Dublin’s highest bar. This is a great spot to view the brewery in its entirety, while kicking up your feet and having the bar within reach.
What goes up must come down…
This experience far exceeded our expectations and would highly recommend this to anyone visiting the city. We spent hours learning about the company what goes into crafting this unique beverage. If anything, pay for the damn admission, elevator to the top and enjoy your included pint.
If you wish to avoid the overpriced and touristy Temple Bar, check out the pubs near George’s Street Arcade. No, not video games. George’s Street Arcade is a Victorian style red-bricked indoor market of food stalls and stores.
We took a page from Anthony Bourdain and enjoyed a pint at Hogans and The Long Hall, both right outside the George’s Street Arcade. Before your next trip – watch an Anthony Bourdain show. Any destination. Watch it. You will not only be more excited and more inspired but better informed to go as well.
It’s difficult understand how anyone could dislike this city. In my opinion, the Irish are lucky. Pubs filled with great music and sensible drinks. Lucky for us, Dublin was our first stop in Ireland we and have so much more to look forward to.