When people think of visiting Dublin, chances are that one of the first things that come to mind may be things like Guinness, Temple Bar and Irish Whiskey, among other things.
These were definitely things on my mind when I finally arrived in Dublin 22 months later than planned after covid came and derailed all of our lives. It was a long 2 years for all of us and rescheduling meant that I arrived in Dublin just after St. Patrick’s Day and also on my birthday! Suffice it to say, I was ready to celebrate my birthday and my first international trip in what felt like forever with some drinks.
Full disclosure: I visited all of these places over a few days with other stops in between, which will be part of another post.
Probably one of the most popular attractions in Dublin has got to be the Guinness Storehouse. It’s located on site at the St. James Brewery and is a must visit even if you are not a beer drinker.
I’ve been to many brewery tours over the years, but the Guinness Storehouse tour was definitely one of the top ones that I have been too. It’s a self-guided tour that takes you thru the process of making Guinness beer and the history of the company with tasting opportunities and very impressive multi-sensory exhibits throughout the 7 floors of the building.
The first set of rooms went into detail on the brewing process step by step. Since most of us are very used to Step 11 – Enjoying Guinness, it was very interesting to learn all the steps that gets the Guinness to that point so we can enjoy it. While most of the process is similar to what you learn in other breweries, there are difference which make Guinness unique from other beers. One of the differences is that they use a combination of carbon dioxide and nitrogen to carbonate the beer. This creates 30 million bubbles in every pint which aids in making it the thick and creamy beer we all love.
The roasting process is done at a temperature of 232 degrees celsius which is what gives Guinness it’s flavor, aroma and color.
After the brewing process, the self-guided tour goes into the full history of Guinness. From the beginnings in the 1700s when Arthur Guinness started brewing beer right here at the St. James location right into the present. It covers the history of the beer becoming more popular and being sold throughout the world. I found it very interesting that Guinness had its own fleet of trains, ships and barges to deliver its beer within Ireland and around the world.
One thing that sets Guinness apart from other beer companies is definitely it’s advertising. As part of the tour, you get to see many of the fun advertising pieces that make the Guinness brand special.
But of course, no brewery tour is complete with tasting the beer! At the Guinness Storehouse you not only can enjoy the tasting room, but you can also learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness by adding the Guinness Academy to your ticket.
In addition to the tasting room, included in each tour is a free pint at the Gravity Bar on the top floor of the Guinness Storehouse. Not only do you get a free pint, but the Gravity Bar is the perfect place to get a great view of the city of Dublin. I was lucky enough to be up there during sunset which made the views even more beautiful.
If all that beer, has you hungry, there are a couple of restaurants located in the Guinness Storehouse. Also make sure to visit the gift shop before you leave. The Guinness Storehouse is open 7 days a week and tickets for the tour start at 22 euros if purchased online.
Irish Whiskey Museum
Ireland isn’t just known for Guinness; it’s also known for its whiskey. While there are many distilleries located within Dublin, including popular whiskey brands such as Jameson and Teeling that you can visit, as someone who loves history, I decided to visit the Irish Whiskey Museum instead of one of the distilleries.
The Irish Whiskey Museum is located near Trinity College and is the perfect place to learn about the history of Irish Whiskey and get to taste some great Whiskey as well.
The entertaining tour guides will take you thru 4 rooms each representing a different time period in Ireland. In each room they will discuss the history of Irish Whiskey.
Irish Whiskey is one of the earliest distilled spirits in Europe, dating back as early as the 12th century. Although there are no written records, it’s thought the Irish Monks learned of the art of distilling from the Moors who used it as medicine. I found the fact that Irish Whiskey had Muslim origins very interesting!
While the Irish Whiskey industry has had its ups and downs over the years, it is now one of the fastest growing spirits in the world, growing from a mere 4 distilleries in 2013 to 24 distilleries just 9 years later.
After listening to the history, we moved on to the different types of Irish Whiskey: Single Malt, Single Pot Still, Grain and Blended. Once we learned more about the different types, we headed to the tasting room to sample the whiskey.
Included in the tour is a tasting of three whiskeys, but for a few additional euros you can upgrade to the premium tour which includes a tasting of a fourth whiskey and a souvenir whiskey glass. I had never done a whiskey tasting before and was surprised at how little whiskey was in the glass, although considering the alcohol content in whiskey, it makes sense. As you can see from the photo below, you can barely see the whiskey in the tasting glasses….
Alas, after flying all night, with no sleep, the four small tastings were more than enough for me. Although, if the tasting has you craving more whiskey, there is a bar located in the museum where you can continue to enjoy some more Irish Whiskey, whiskey cocktails or an Irish Coffee.
The Irish Whiskey Museum is definitely a great spot to visit when in Dublin.
After learning about Guinness and Irish Whiskey, why not enjoy some in a bar. The Temple Bar District is one of the oldest areas of Dublin and is well known for its nightlife and bar scene. The Saturday of St. Patrick’s Day weekend it was incredibly busy and lively, making me question all the people that have told me over the years that the Irish do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like we do in America. The scene in the Temple Bar District certainly reminded me of how we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here in South Boston.
The Temple Bar District was once St. Andrews Parish. But in the 17th century it became known as Temple Bar after Sir William Temple who was the provost at nearby Trinity College had a house and gardens here.
Now Temple Bar is a top spot to visit in Dublin, especially The Temple Bar Pub. This pub with the red facade is what first comes to mind when people think of famous pubs in Dublin. It’s a great pub to stop in for a drink but can get busy and seem a bit touristy so make sure to check out some of the other pubs in the area as well.
Brazen Head – Ireland’s Oldest Pub
Speaking of famous pubs in Dublin, one that shouldn’t be missed is Brazen Head.
The Brazen Head is the oldest pub in Ireland. The name Brazen Head dates as far back as 1653, but there has been a food and drink establishment at this location going all the way back to 1198, making it the fifth oldest restaurant in the world!
With both outdoor and indoor bars, it’s the perfect spot for some drinks, a meal and to listen to some live music. It’s the quintessential Irish pub and who doesn’t love an Irish pub?
There is no shortage of places to drink alcohol in Dublin, the city is full of pubs, and you don’t need to walk far to find one. Learning about what the beer and whiskey you are drinking and its origins will make having drinks a bit more special. Where are you heading for a drink on your next trip to Dublin?
Pin for later: