Today was a day of pub crawling around the city.
To make sure were well nourished for this epic adventure we stopped at a small cafe called Bite of Life for some porridge and fresh juice. Once we were adequately filled we wandered over to the Guinness Storehouse. Like the Jameson Distillery, the Guinness Storehouse is a bit Disney-like, while at the same time amazingly well done (no cheese factor what so ever). You can experience the Guinness Storehouse in a variety of ways, guided tours, self-guided tours, or/or straight to one of their bars.
The husband I choose to do a self-guided tour of the 7 story building. At the Storehouse one learns about the brewing process and the 5 key ingredients used to make Guinness (Arthur Guinness himself being the fifth ingredient). You learn about the global foundations and water programs Guinness has started and the history of the brewery. One thing that I found interesting about the Guinness Brewery was how they were one of the first companies to instate holiday and health care for its employees. It sounded as though if you were a Guinness employee you and your family were well cared for.
On other floors you learned about the history of Guinness advertising, and how casks were made. It’s amazing to think what a big production Guinness was, even from the start. I didn’t realize at the time, but the Storehouse was opened in 2000, but the building was constructed in 1902 as the fermentation plant.
On the 7th floor of the Storehouse you enter the Gravity Lounge where with the price of your admission you receive a complimentary pint of beer. Over 10 million pints of Guinness are poured around the world each day. This day the husband I were able to enjoy our freshly poured Guinness and with a 360 degree view of Dublin. On the 4th floor of the Storehouse you can also visit the Connoisseur Lounge where for a reasonable price you can do a tasting flight of all 4 types of Guinness that they sell. You can also learn how to perfect the pour at the Guinness Academy and receive a certificate. I’m pretty confident the husband will start bringing it to the bars in Seattle and insist that he pour his own pint, because you know… he is “certified”.
Once I was able to pull the husband out of his adult candy land we headed over to Brazen Head for yet another pint of the black stuff. If you want to experience Dublin and its true pub history then Brazen Head is the place for you (one of the oldest pubs in Dublin). It has for sure become a tourist pit stop but the inside of the pub is well worth seeing. People from around the world stop in for a pint, but well worth the visit. The food was traditional fare and the black stuff amazing. The husband and I were lucky to snag seats at the bar where we each enjoyed a pint and the husband grabbed a dram of Yellow Spot whiskey. Interestingly enough we learned that much of whiskey produced in Ireland is distributed in the US so we actually are able to find better deals back home.
After our pint stop at Brazen Head, we meandered our way through Christ Church where they had an all girl choir singing hymns in the main cathedral. The Church is quite beautiful and worth seeing. Other churches to visit include St. Andrews Cathedral.
For lunch we at at the wine cellar in Fallon and Bryne. There you can find a small grocery store with fresh Irish food made to go (similar in style and layout to a Whole Foods). They also have a wine cellar and and upstairs restaurant to enjoy.
In hopes of making the day a little more than just a pub crawl day we took an afternoon stroll through St. Stephens Green (located in city center), which the current design was by William Sheppard and opened in 1880. Until 1877 the park was only accessible to local residents. Interestingly, we learned at the Storehouse, Arthur Guinness’s son paid for the layout of the green (what we currently see today, which took place in 1880).
Post our stroll through the Green and some retail window shopping on Grafton Street, we headed over to the Palace Bar where the husband enjoyed a dram of their house distilled whiskey (naturally named Palace Bar Irish Whiskey). We also wanted to make sure we heard some live music while in town, because a trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without some live Irish music. We popped into Oliver St. John Gogarty pub for another pint and music. The place was packed with all walks of life (including a boy crazed group of teenagers heading out to see One Direction later in the night).
Oliver St. John Gogarty was a man of many hats, an Irish poet, author, otolaryngologist, athlete, politician, and well-known conversationalist. He was also an inspiration for Buck Mulligan (Ulysses) and probably one of the many reasons James Joyce left Dublin for the last time. At the pub bands played in 30 minute segments and many of the musicians playing in multiple bands. The crowds they drew were quite amazing and it was wonderful how the blended traditional Irish songs with popular songs (mostly to please the boy crazed One Direction fans). After about an hour of entertainment the husband and I cut through Temple Bar to have dinner at Cleaver Eat. A small plate, shareable foods style restaurant. With two Michelin star chefs involved, Cleaver East does a wonderful spin on traditional Irish meals (such as fish and chips or a scotch egg) and offers a tantalizing experience with pork belly, lobster dumplings, and many more. I am by no means a food critic but I thought the food was quite good. I can understand why they have received such accolades from the food world and would very much enjoy going back during another stay.
We finished our day with a craft cocktail break on our walk home to the hotel. Initially we thought we’d end the night with one last pint but we could’t resist a cocktail after seeing the bartender in the restaurant window of Green 19 whipping up delicious drinks. Green 19 was a small restaurant that looked like it came straight out of Seattle. The cocktails were traditional with a modern twist, as was that food that we saw coming out of the kitchen. The husband made a comment that as much as he enjoyed the various pubs we stopped at today, if we lived in Dublin, Green 19 would probably be one of our local bite spots.
Once again we were hitting the hay a little before 1 AM and a little sad, knowing it was our last full day but excited for the day ahead and our friends in Scotland.