Watch Me Dublin: Hook that Guinness to my veins!
After our spontaneous trip to Germany with our friend Vitalij, we split ways in Cologne Airport. He flew east to Riga and we headed west to start chasing leprechauns in Ireland! Where better to start than Dublin?
But first! The nice-looking immigration officer at Dublin Airport went full interrogation on us after arriving. Like, ‘whats your life story and where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ kind of style! Anyway we passed the pop quiz and headed for the city.
We were staying as central as central could get. Right next to the Temple Bar in Temple Bar. It promised to be a wild few nights in Dublin!
Just an FYI – most locals keep away from Temple Bar when it comes to drinking, despite all the bars’ best efforts to promote how authentic and traditionally Irish they are…..”Look! Our front doors are adorned with shamrocks, leprechauns and harps!” To locals, they are tourist traps and obscenely overpriced for drinking. We found a couple of great pubs in Dublin beyond Temple Bar; The Hairy Lemon and the Porterhouse.
Dublin welcomed us immediately with the wind, rain and clouds. For about a day, it was kind of endearing, especially after sweating in Spain and Portugal for 5 weeks! However that ‘Irish summer’ quickly lost its appeal!
We did the Guinness Storehouse tour and I can honestly say its pretty underwhelming. For the steep price of €20, one might expect a fully-guided tour, lots of informative videos and some personality to the whole experience! A resounding no on all counts – self-guided tour, YouTube videos of their old-school TV ads and a very mass tourist feel to everything. There’s a short 10 minute tasting tour but its nothing spectacular. Free pint at the Gravity Bar on level 7 might have provided a good view of Dublin if it weren’t for the fog!
Overall, can’t say I recommend the Storehouse tour, especially for €20. I would STRONGLY suggest doing a beer & whisky tour with dublinfreewalkingtour.com instead. Just €12, 3 different bars in North Dublin with 1 bar dedicated purely to Guinness appreciation, the history of Guinness and the story on why Guinness is terrible outside Ireland. Maria has written more about the beers of Ireland and of course Guinness in her article.
We met a girl from our hostel and convinced her the beer and whisky tour would be fun. So we all trudged off in the eternal Dublin rain and met at the Millennial Monument at 6pm (the useless 121-metre stick pointing to the sky). Richie, our tour (and drinking) guide, was verrrryyy enthusiastic about his subject matter and I can’t blame him.
First stop was the Black Sheep and sampling beers from Galway Bay Brewery – stout, red ale and a pale ale. All of them worth a second pint! Also getting a backstory on Irish brewing doesn’t hurt the drinking process 😉
Second stop is McNeil’s, a grungy local watering hole to sample and further up-skill on our Guinness abilities. Last stop is Slattery’s for food and whisky tasting. Of course you order the Irish staple, bangers and mash, and wash it down with Teeling’s Irish whisky.
By that stage, we’re all fairly wobbly but we head back to McNeil’s for more Guinness and some local Irish music. Needless to say, we struggled the next morning but it was worth every last drop of the black stuff!
NOTE: if you’re serious on doing the tour, the food is obviously not included in the €12!
So, a hectic (and rainy) few days in Dublin but a newfound appreciation for Guinness. Unfortunately if you want good Guinness, you do need to be in Dublin or at least in Ireland. I would definitely come back just for that reason!
Tip #1: The buses to Dublin city are immediately to the left as you exit the terminal. I don’t think it matters which company you use – a 1-way ticket costs €7 and a return costs €12.
Tip #2: The Porterhouse is a cool pub really close to Temple Bar with 3 levels of Irish pubby greatness! A weird suspended stage for bands and a delicious selection of draught brews including 3 amazing stouts. Order an Oyster Stout (even with oysters if you like..) and just thank me later!
Tip #3: In order to combat the ‘Irish summer’, we found salvation 2 days in a row with soup. Cafe Noto and Rosie’s Cafe respectively served up soul-warming soups and bread for about €4.50.
Tip #4: The Book of Kells museum / library isn’t super worth it unless you’re an avid history nut. Its €13 for admission and the coolest part in my opinion is the old library near the end. Perhaps do a guided tour from Trinity College for €14 instead where they show you around campus and take you inside the Book of Kells anyway (basically a guided tour as well for only €1 extra).
Watch Me Dublin: hook that Guinness to my veins!