Global Experiences intern Lindsey Paxton shares her trips to the Guinness Storehouse and the famed Jameson Distillery to learn more about Dublin's two iconic drinks!
Yesterday morning, we got up early (for a Saturday) and headed off to the Guinness Storehouse. Once inside, I was quite surprised by the mix of modern architecture and aged textures. The tour was self-led and full of amazing visuals to delight the senses. I was so excited to finally take photos with my new 50mm lens that my camera was glued to my face for the majority of the day. (But, hey, that’s okay; I got over 250 photos out of it.)
We learned how to pour a “perfect pint” of Guinness—it’s a very elaborate process full of angles, timing, and visual clues. (So, obviously, I managed to spill Guinness on me as soon as it’s my turn to pour my very own pint.) After receiving our very fancy “I poured a perfect pint” certificates, we took our pints up to Arthur’s Bar, a more traditional Irish bar, where they serve beef and Guinness stew, Guinness bread, and I’m sure a plethora of other Guinness-infused delights. We got the vegetable soup with Guinness bread, which was nice and tasty. I really wanted to be able to drink my pint of Guinness, but I didn't even come close. …I barely made it below the rim. Guinness is not for everyone, I suppose.
After eating our fill, we went up to Gravity Bar, the topmost point at the Storehouse with a 360-degree view of Dublin. It was beautiful. And crowded. And hot. So, we didn't stay long, but it was nice while it lasted.
After finishing up there, we decided to continue our tourist-y day at the Jameson Distillery. Having no expectations, I was very pleasantly surprised when we walked in to a very warm, cozy, and sophisticated building. When I purchased my ticket, the man at the counter asked where I was from, and when I replied, “Kentucky,” he said,“Oh, where they think they can make whiskey.” He went on to recommend Kentucky’s Woodford Reserve, as it is distilled three times (like Jameson). This tour had a guide, which made it much more informational (because who has the patience to read nowadays?). And, of course, at the end, we were able to taste original Jameson, which is five years old. I had a Jameson & Ginger, which was surprisingly light and enjoyable. We learned on the tour that Jameson is distilled three times, which makes it very smooth and prevents it from burning your throat like Jack Daniel’s, which is only distilled once. (Also of note: most Scotch whiskys, like Johnnie Walker, are distilled twice.)
Having imbibed our measure of Jameson, we were off to fill our stomachs with a warm, hearty meal. As we were walking, we discovered “the oldest pub in Ireland,” and could not pass up the opportunity to stop in. Sitting in The Brazen Head, established in 1198, you could feel the history surrounding you. (I mean, it’s a pub 578 years older than my country.) I got a steak sandwich and fries (“chips”), which was quite good—especially having not eaten much meat in the course of a month. We all enjoyed our meals and had a nice time talking about the day’s events.
The idea of home was very welcome after such a long day of adventures, and the journey back was a bit more enjoyable than usual, having the satisfaction of a day well spent.