Europe is home to many of the world’s greatest tourist attractions. From the Eiffel Tower in Paris to Rome’s Colosseum, there’s no shortage of memorable experiences at popular spots throughout the continent. What most don’t realize is how jam-packed the Emerald Isle is with hot tourist spots, even though Ireland has won the World Travel Award’s Leading Tourist Attraction in Europe every year since 2015.
One of those winning attractions is usually the first thing that comes to mind when building a travel itinerary to Ireland, and I like to think it’s because this attraction’s logo is strikingly similar to the country’s emblem.
Of course, I’m talking about the Guinness Storehouse, which to the citizens of Ireland, is much more than just a brewery.
Named Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction after a record-breaking 1,711,281 visitors walked through their gates in 2017, Guinness Storehouse brings its guests on a remarkable journey full of history dating back to the 18th Century and behind the scenes of the beer making process. As if going up and down seven floors of interactive exhibits surrounded by the world’s largest pint-shaped glass wasn’t amazing enough, doing it with a pint of Guinness in-hand tops it all off.
On-Point, Authentic Guides
I’ve been on many tours of many tourist attractions, and the key of it becoming an all-time favorite or memorable visit lies within the tour guide. To say that Kevin—my guide on a recent visit to Guinness—loved his job would be an understatement. He told me his family has worked for Guinness since the 1870s and shared every piece of knowledge with the utmost joy and enthusiasm. It was my first hint at finding out how much more Guinness is to the Irish than the producer of an amazing beer.
Floor Upon Floor of Unique Exhibits
Throughout our tour, Kevin and I got to know each other pretty well all while walking through the history of Arthur Guinness and his company, from beginning to present. We started on the bottom floor and worked our way up through exhibits of ingredients, old machinery, and barrels used to make and store the Black Stuff. Although I avoided science as much as possible all the way through college, I always gravitate towards it inside of breweries. There is lots to learn around the science of beer in the Storehouse, and yes—you can taste for science, too.
Food, Beer & Views
I could not find one taste inside the Storehouse I didn’t like. The 1837 Bar & Brasserie is one of many dining options on the fifth floor, which is a great spot to pause your tour for laid-back dining with beautiful views. Then, take a pint up to the seventh floor for one of the coolest bars you’ll ever step foot in—The Gravity Bar. This is where you’ll get the best view of Dublin, from above all the historic rooftops with pure 360° views all around.
Drink Like a VIP
Of all the tastings, history and conversations I had at Guinness that day, by far the best was their Connoisseur Experience. Tucked away in a private, luxurious bar, Kevin walked myself and a group of visitors from around the world through more history and heritage of Guinness. We had the chance to taste different types and brands of Guinness, some of which I never heard of or was not available in the United States. At the end of the experience, we all got to pull back on the mighty Guinness tap and pour ourselves perfect pints. Real super fans like myself will frame their Perfect Pint certificate and place it on the mantle at home.
Mix all of these ingredients together and you’ll see why it’s tough to keep Guinness Storehouse off travel plans to Ireland or Dublin. But don’t take my word for it—in an independently-conducted survey of 500 visitors, Guinness found that 34% said visiting the Storehouse was critical in their decision to visit Ireland. All that Guinness has done and provided for citizens of Dublin and Ireland for hundreds of years runs deep in their history, and a traveler’s Irish experience wouldn’t be truly complete without it.
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