The Guinness Storehouse
Tours of Ireland

2014-08-02 14.03.30I regularly visit the attractions listed on my client’s itineraries to see if anything has been changed or updated. One such attraction that I enjoy visiting is the Guinness Storehouse. I ventured there on Saturday last, August 2nd, 2014. I have visited at different times of the year to see what the crowds are like and I have to say that visiting at this time of the year is both a blessing and a curse.

The Storehouse was incredibly busy – long lines to get through and people everywhere. The plus side of this was that, at this time of the year, you will find clever little additions to the experience like the live Ceili taking place. The atmosphere was electric and the large crowds only added to it as everyone stood supping on their pints, soaking in the Irish music and heritage. Many people got caught in the moment and you could see feet tapping, itching to break into dance. As an Irish person, it was touching to see people from other countries enjoy our culture so much.

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The experience itself is exceptionally well laid out. The crowds were a slight issue as it was hard to see some of the features (particularly when you’re 5ft 4 like myself!).

Your experience starts by standing at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass, which rises up through the centre of the seven storey building. If full, the giant pint glass atrium would hold 14.3 million pints of Guinness. At the bottom of the glass atrium you will see the 9000 year lease that our founder Arthur Guinness signed on the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin – the lease marks the beginning of the Guinness story and also the beginning of your journey through the world of Guinness.

As you continue your journey, you’re greeted by the gift shop on the Ground Floor. The collection of Guinness memorabilia will have you browsing for hours! I did not spend long looking at the merchandise as I did not intend to purchase anything but I must say that the spread is impressive and not as overpriced as I was expecting.

Things to bear in mind about shopping in the store would be that if you have a FEXCO HORIZON card, it will allow you to enjoy tax-free shopping in-store. If you don’t have the luggage space to take your gifts home, the friendly staff will send them to your home with their in-store DHL service.

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Guinness is made from four natural ingredients – water, barley, hops and yeast. As I continued on my tour, I must say that I am always impressed by the way the Storehouse demonstrates these ingredients. In particular, I love the in-house waterfall.

As you progress through the Storehouse, you follow the Master Brewer, Fergal Murray, as he guides you step by step through the brewing process. The tour has become heavily reliant on technology over the years with much of it now being video based. It’s clever though and it works.

Having learned about the brewing process, you are then invited to experience your first sample of Guinness in the Taste Experience. The queues for this particular part of the tour were spilling out the doors so we had to skip it on this occasion.

2014-08-02 15.01.00The next part of the tour deals with cooperage and transportation. Guinness was renowned Worldwide as it managed to retain its flavour despite long journeys to get from its origination in James Gate to its many worldwide destinations.  Video footage is displayed on screens which are cleverly built into some of the wooden barrels. View the video below showing Master Cooper Dick Flanagan demonstrating the craft of the coopers who made the wooden barrels which were used to transport Guinness across the globe.

Explore the transportation methods used to export Guinness. Such methods included horses, trains, barges, ships and road transport. This will lead you onto the Advertising Gallery which features the stories of popular Guinness icons and the television advertisements spanning over the decades.

2014-08-02 15.11.32On the fourth floor, there is a particularly good feature – the Guinness Academy. Here, you learn to pour the perfect pint. The queue meant that we were waiting 10-15 minutes before we got to participate in the Academy. I had not waited before but I chose to do so this time and I have to say, it was the most enjoyable part of the experience. Upon completion, we received certificates to say that we had perfected our pint pulling skills.

The next floor will make your mouth water as the aroma of food hits your nostrils. Many of the dishes include Guinness so if you’re feeling peckish, I recommend grabbing something here.

We finished our visit taking in the outstanding views from the Gravity Bar. It was jammed however so there was very little space to stand without being in people’s way. It did detract from the experience slightly. I have visited the Storehouse in off season times and I found it far more enjoyable as I could take in everything at my own pace but there’s very little else you can expect when visiting in peak season.

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Overall, the Storehouse is exceptionally planned and while it does slightly fall into the ‘tourist trap’ category, you won’t leave feeling that it was a waste of money/time. The fact that it is a self-guided tour is good as you get to see everything at your own pace but I have said time and time again when I have visited, I would love a guided tour as I think I’d learn so much more. I’m on my fourth visit and there are still things I only learned last weekend. I wonder how my clients will do when they’re only visiting once.

Irish Essence Tours offer discounted rates for the Guinness Storehouse so be sure to mention to your Travel Advisor if you’d like to include a visit in your itinerary.

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This truly was a trip of a lifetime for us. I find myself looking at it and sighing, wishing we could be back there! We couldn’t have asked for a better trip and we’re already planning our return for 2015. The level of personal attention you devoted to every little detail will never be forgotten – we raised many pints of Guinness to Irish Essence Tours and to you Deborah on our trip!
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Dear Deborah, We are sending this message to you, hoping that you can post it on your website so that other travellers may know what a terrific job you did for us in planning our recent trip to Ireland. In every respect, we loved the tour you planned for us. We loved where it took us; we loved what we saw, the beauty, the tranquillity, and the history of your magical country. We loved the accommodations, the B&Bs, which you thoughtfully arranged for us. We enjoyed the restaurants and pubs, many of which you recommended. Lastly, we loved the people we met. In all our travels, we have never visited a country full of warmer, more polite, welcoming people. And, you Deborah, represent Ireland, and its' people, at its' finest. Our dealings with you, your willingness & patience to listen to what we wanted, and your prompt responses, could not have been better. It was a real pleasure doing business with you. Thank you so much Deborah for the trip of a lifetime. Allen & Marilyn Herman Cincinnati, Ohio, USA September 2014
─ Allen & Marilyn Herman
I have never thought I could see so much from just a week. Thanks to Irish Essence that was made possible. Not only did we see so many exciting and beautiful places, it was also affordable. This company is extremely professional, helpful, and also and friendly. three characteristics one would certainly look for when booking for a holiday. Most importantly, it is a reliable company. thanks and kind regards, Natalino Malta, Spain
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