Mmmm… Guinness: like drinking a loaf of bread… and I have no complaints about that, whatsoever!
Day 2 in Ireland saw us in Dublin. Since we were in Dublin, there was no way we could leave without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse. I was super good and bought discounted student tickets online ahead of time and printed them out, so we were able to skip the queue (which would have taken 30-45 minutes, had I not purchased tickets ahead of time). Now, we went into this with super high expectations. After the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam last year, we were basically expecting the moon.
We got a handful of dim stars. It was fun, but not AS fun as Heineken. There were about 10 million people pushing through each exhibit and there wasn't really all that much to look at. The first floor walks you through how beer is made and how the barrels the beer is stored in are created (easily the coolest part of the exhibit). There are displays and videos and you can get a free audio guide (the line to pick these up had about a 20 minute wait), so you definitely walk away with some knowledge. We learned that the crazy "grape" fields with trellises that go 20 feet up in the air are actually hop fields, so that was good. The second floor has a tasting experience of sorts. You wait in line for about 40 minutes and a "professional" teaches you how to taste Guinness. We skipped this.
The third floor has one wall with displays of different decades and they show you Guinness adverts from each decade (unlike the gigantic room of ads at Heineken), and then you go way up to the top floor, where you're squeezed into a bar with a panoramic view of the city. The views are spectacular… if you can get to the windows. We waited about 10 minutes to be served our pints and then spent about 10 minutes waiting for some window space to open up.
Overall, the beer and the views alone were great. I'm glad we had student tickets and purchased them ahead of time. Perhaps, if we had visited not on New Year's Eve, our experience would have been a bit less crowd-filled and we could have spent some more time taking in the exhibits that were set up.
(This ^ is the actual harp that is part of the Guinness logo. I think it was from the sixteenth century, but some crazy people kept shoving me out of the way to take selfless with it, so I didn't get all the details.)
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