I thought it would be fun to share some of my adventures with you.
First Stop: Guinness Storehouse
Tim and I arrived in Dublin at about 4:30 am Irish time, which was 11:30pm EST.
We took a taxi from the airport to our hotel, checked in, and got approximately 2 hours of sleep before we rose to tour the city and adjust our circadian rhythms 5 hours ahead.
Needless to say, we spent most of Saturday looking and feeling like zombies.
This made the Guinness Storehouse the perfect first stop.
Arthur Guinness founded the Guinness Brewery at St. James Gate in 1759.
Arthur built his brewery on leased land. He chose the site because of its ability to draw water from the outlying Wicklow Mountains.
The lease terms Arthur signed stipulated that he would lease the land for 9,000 years and that he and his heirs would pay £45/year in rent. (Guinness later nullified its lease by purchasing the land.)
Not long after opening his brewery, a friend sent Arthur a barrel of porter, which was coming into fashion. Arthur developed his stout recipe to appeal to porter drinkers.
By 1868, Guinness became the largest brewery in the world.
Guinness Storehouse Tour
The Guinness Storehouse museum comprises 7 floors of Guinness’ history, products, and food.
The museum occupies the old fermentation plant, which Guinness used between 1902 and 1988.
In the center of this fermentation plant, Guinness built a giant pint glass.
When you begin your self-guided tour, you start at the bottom of the “world’s largest pint” (if filled it would hold 14 million pints of Guinness) and work your way up to the 7th floor Gravity Bar, where you can drink a pint of Guinness and take in breathtaking, panoramic views of Dublin.
In my opinion, the highlight of the tour was the cooperage exhibit.
Prior to its conversion to aluminum kegs in 1963, Guinness used to employ 300 coopers who made up to 1,000 barrels a week.
The cooperage exhibit depicts how coopers plied their craft. It contains video clips from 1954, that along with a narrator, provides a step-by-step look at how coopers made barrels.
The most amazing part: Guinness coopers only used 1 tool to measure their work, a compass to ensure a water-tight seal when they built the barrel end. They constructed the rest of the barrel using only their eyes and hands to measure their work.
One floor up from the cooperage exhibit, you will find a floor dedicated to the history of Guinness's advertising.
Tim and I capped off our tour at the Gravity Bar with our complimentary pints.
Much to our surprise, we found that we liked the taste of Guinness.