The only way to end an Ireland Trip with a bang is to visit the Guinness Storehouse. I really don’t think that there is anything more iconic. Being that this is my first time to Ireland, and of course, my first time visitng the Guinness Storehouse, I had some misconceptions. I thought that it was the only place that Guinness is brewed. That is definitely not the case. Can you tell that I’m not a beer connoisseur? I know this location as the Guinness Storehouse, but it is actually St. James’s Gate. It is the original location of the Guinness Brewery when it was founded in 1759. In my research, I read somewhere that they actually still pay the same original monthly rent, which is a fun fact.
My expecation was some kind of old school brewery, but that was not what I saw. It is somewhat important to hightlight this fact. I am from Southeast Ohio, which borders KY. I have visited many a brewery and distillery around the OH and KY area. My frame of reference was a more “preserved” type of feel. Hence, the title of whether or not the Guinness Storehouse is toursity or not touristy. I think it is a little of both.
The moment you enter, BAM, you see the store, a ton of bright neon type fixtures, a massive Guinness sign, and the like. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind those things. I bought a few things from that store, so I can’t knock it. But to those Brewery purists out there, be prepared for the dazzle!
Another thing I didn’t expect is that the structure is multiple levels. There are 7 different levels, each with its own sort of “theme” and plenty of places to gather. Of course, there are places to taste the beer, and it is full of places to eat. It feels a little like an amusement park. I go to amusement parks so there’s a good and bad to that mental picture. The thing I do like is that there are places where everyone can gather and have a beer. We were with young children, and it kept them well fed and highly entertained. However, it does feel a bit commercial. The entertainment is pretty fun, though. I can’t remember which floor we were on, but it was packed with people tasting all sorts of beer. To kick it off, there was some legit entertainment that is great for all ages.
The rich amount of history associated with the Guinness Storehouse is undeniable. Not only is the brewing process perfected meticulously over several hundred years, but there is a real sense of community that the Guinness family tried to preserve. This legacy has been passed down from generation to generation (to sons and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that). The last member of the family to become Chairman was Benjamin Guinnees up until the mid 1980s. Since then, it has been owned by different conglomerates, but has always been a pioneer in excellence and innovation. You see this within the walls of the Storehouse.
The Guinness Storehouse displays are incredibly educational. They go through the different processes of brewing and highlight various innovations that they’ve had over the years.
There is also nod to their past and their rich history.
At the very to p floor of the structure is the Gravity Bar. It is one of the coolest bars I have ever been- HONESTLY! Such an incredible vantage point to be able to see the rest of the Storehouse and Dublin as well. You get 360 degree views of the city and skyline.
On the glass panes, it gives you a description of what part of the city you are looking at, which is really awesome. It also comes with an audio tour as well.
It is a bar, after all, so it is only appropriate to have a pint or two. I am not a beer drinker, but the Guinness in Dublin, for some reason, tastes so much better than the ones in the US. Now, I am not a beer expert, so it might be the ambiance and it may all just be in my head. Either way, I soaked up the entire experience. Just as an FYI, the kids aren’t drinking beer.
Whether the Guinness Storehouse is too touristy or not, it doesn’t really matter. I don’ think I could’ve ended our Ireland trip any other way. It just brought a smile to my face. It was a fitting end to a wonderful extravaganza.
I look back at this with fondness since the COVID pandemic started. I can’t wait until life goes back to some normalcy and people can gather again in safety. Until then, the Guinnesss Storehouse is closed. For further information on operations during COVID, please visit their website.