Several weeks ago I joined up with some fellow work abroad in Ireland people to take a tour of The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Before moving to Dublin I had actually never had Guinness before, and I decided I might as well wait to try “a pint of the black stuff” in its native land. People say Guinness is better in Ireland anyway, and who am I to argue?
The Guinness Storehouse Tour
The Guinness Storehouse is massive. The tour is a self-tour with a variety of different exhibits to see along the way. There isn’t a brew master in person showing you how they make Guinness, but the tour displays are easy to follow along with. The first part of the tour goes through the ingredients that are in Guinness (barley, hops, water, and yeast), and how the beer itself is made.
After you get to learn about Arthur Guinness himself (the namesake and creator of Guinness) and the legacy of his family in Dublin. Fun fact – did you know St. Stephen’s Green Park in Dublin was initially a private park for local residents? It was Arthur Guinness’s grandson A.E Guinness who pressured the government to give the park to all of Dublin. Who knew I was enjoying a lovely day in the park thanks to beer?
After learning about how Guinness is made and who Arthur Guinness there is still more to this tour. There is one area that’s dedicated to the different advertisements for Guinness over the years. It was a pretty fun section. It also talked about the famous harp symbol found on Guinness. The harp has become the symbol of Ireland (the only country with its own musical symbol, which I think is fantastic). As a company, Guinness started using the harp as a symbol for its products back in 1862. When The Republic of Ireland formed as a country in 1922, they wanted to use the harp as a symbol of the country but had to change it to a mirror image to avoid copyright infringement.
Storage and Transport
Next, there is a section about how Guinness was stored over the years (used to be in oak barrels), and how it is transported (both in the past and now). The last section goes through what Guinness looks like (or used to) around the world.
The Tasting and Gravity Bar
During the tour, there are two stops you will want to make. First is the tasting room. This is where you will learn how to taste Guinness properly. Unlike doing a wine tasting, you won’t have to spit anything out. The tasting room just offers a small shot glass worth of Guinness to try, but that’s not the last time you can have Guinness here.
At the top of the Storehouse is The Gravity Bar, which has 360-degree views of Dublin. Everyone over the age of 18 with a tour ticket will get a free pint of Guinness, and those under 18 will get a complimentary soft drink. There is another bar on a lower floor that has different types of Guinness (that surprised me…I thought there was just one).
Tips for Your Visit
- This the most popular tourist attraction in Dublin. It will get busy. We were there on a Saturday, but if you can visit during the week it might be quieter (no guarantees on that).
- Purchase your tickets online in advance. You’ll save 10% on the ticket price, and will be guaranteed a spot. If you don’t book online and it’s busy you may be turned away at the door.
- You don’t have to be 18 to go on this tour, but you will need to be 18+ (with ID) to have any alcohol. Minors do need to be accompanied by an adult.
- You get a complimentary pint of Guinness (or soft drink) at the gravity bar. Any other beverages will cost extra.
- Give yourself at least an hour to do the hour.
Things You Should Know
The Guinness Storehouse is located at St. Jame’s Gate, Dublin 8. Map here. If you take the Red Luas Line the closest stop to get off at is James’s and then it’s about a 10-minute walk. Tickets for adults range from €14 to €20 depending on the time and day of the week you go. The Storehouse is open from 9:30 am with the last tour starting at 5 pm.
I paid for my own way to The Guinness Storehouse, and all opinions, words, and photos here are my own. This post has not been endorsed by anyone at The Work in Ireland Program nor anyone at Guinness (although if they want to send me a free case of Guinness I won’t complain ).