Monday, June 19, 2017

Remembering Ireland: Dublin & the Guinness Storehouse

Good morning! Today I'm posting the first in my series Remembering Ireland. As I mentioned in Saturday's post about growing as a blogger, I realized I had never made any proper posts about my one and only trip abroad. I think, then, it's only right that I make them now. This is the first post, and it's about the City of Dublin and the Guinness Storehouse. I'll be posting these once a week on Mondays.

A little bit of backstory: my best friend (for 40 years now) Keith and I took this trip to Ireland together. Not that I don't love my husband and kids, but sometimes you need to take trips without your family. Besides, going to Europe was a lifelong dream of mine, and I wanted to be able to enjoy it without dealing with the constant calling of the various forms of my name, "Mom!", "Mommy!", "Babe." Keeping track of kids and keeping my husband happy were not what I had in mind for this dream journey. So, when I found a good online deal for Dublin, Limerick, and Galway, I instantly thought about my best friend. We had talked about taking a trip abroad together sometime, and this seemed like the perfect place to start. It's reasonably priced, they speak English, and it doesn't take as long to get to as other places we could've gone.

Our trip was a week long: Fly into Dublin from Chicago, take the train to Limerick the next day, stay two nights, take the train to Galway, stay two nights, take the train back to Dublin, stay one night, and fly back to Chicago. This meant that we only got the first and last day in Dublin, never really getting a full day there. We arrived in Dublin at 7 a.m., tired and dirty, where we were luckily able to get into a room within an hour. After a shower and a brief nap, we took the city train up to Malahide Castle. Malahide Castle has it's own post, so look for that within the coming weeks. We went out to eat and explored Dublin that evening before heading to Limerick early the next day. When we arrived back in Dublin after a week, we didn't have more than 12 hours to enjoy what we could and sleep before flying out, so we journeyed over to the Guinness Storehouse. 






The North Star Hotel. This was the hotel we stayed at in Dublin both times, and it was conveniently located across the street from Connolly Station. Connolly Station is the largest train station in Dublin, where one can grab the city train or the Irish train for longer trips across the country. The North Star was also conveniently located next to a city bus stop, and a block away from the Luas. The Luas is Dublin's above-ground subway, essentially, and it was a fantastic way to travel around the city.





The Boar's Head is one of the quintessential bars in Dublin, and we made sure to stop and have a Guinness or two. Interesting fact: when ordering a Guinness in Ireland, be prepared to wait awhile before getting your beer. They have special taps just for Guinness, and the barkeep will let the first pour's head die down, then fill it to the top.





Our first evening in Ireland, Dublin, we went to eat the famed Guinness Pie at O'Shea's. Keep in mind, I didn't become a vegan until six months after I came back from Ireland, so while there, I ate the full Irish breakfast every morning, and ate my fair share of Irish food like bangers & mash.





We walked around Dublin after spending the day at Malahide Castle. Before it got dark and we went out to eat supper at O'Shea's, we wandered around the city, taking in the sites and shopping at little convenience stores, thrift shops, and the 0.99 euro store. 





We arrived back in Dublin, on our last day in Ireland, late in the afternoon. I had originally envisioned all these fun things we could do in Dublin: Trinity College, Wicklow Mountains, Jameson Distillery, The Temple Bar, and the Guinness Storehouse. Of course, with our very limited time in Dublin, we took the suggestion of a local the first day (for Malahide Castle), and on the last day, we decided on Guinness Storehouse. As a beer drinker, I loved it! Also, Guinness in Ireland is so much fresher, trust me.





The Storehouse is seven-floors of wonder and a beer-aficionado's dream. There's a gift shop on the first floor, and most of the other floors consist of museum displays, including the detailed descriptions of the beer-making process, and a couple of bars. This was one of many placards that talked about the ingredients that go into Guinness.





One of the ingredients in Guinness, of course, is water so there's a beautifully-lighted waterfall inside the Storehouse.









A view down the center to the first floor.





After seeing all the cool things in the museum and taking the sample-tasting side tour, we made our way to the top floor where the Gravity Bar takes residence. Entirely walled in glass, you can see the entirety of Dublin (including the Wicklow Mountains) by walking around the perimeter. You can also turn in your admission stub for a free pint of Guinness that you can get at the Gravity Bar or the other bar on the premises, but with views like this, why would you go anywhere else?





Another view of Dublin. You can see the rest of the brewery from here, the city, the mountains, and St. Patrick's Cathedral - as evidenced by the glass. One of the many cool things about the Gravity Bar was these snippets of cool information written on the glass of the bar. You could peer out over Dublin and get a glimpse into one of the city landmarks.


I hope you enjoyed this look into Dublin and the Guinness Storehouse. Coming up over the next several weeks: Castles, Medieval Feast, the Cliffs of Moher, and much more!
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