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The Guinness Storehouse: Home of Ireland’s Black Gold

The Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

I’ve been to Dublin three times now – and when I get there, a pint of Irish Guinness is always top of my list of things to do. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but it does seem to taste better in its homeland. And where better to taste it than the place where it’s made – Dublin’s St James’ Gate Brewery. The Guinness Storehouse visitor centre is part of the huge St James’ Gate site, where almost 15 million pints of Guinness are still brewed every year. The site covers over 64 acres and was the largest brewing site in the world when it was built. And for a pretty bargain price too – the lease originally signed by Arthur Guinness lasts for 9000 years at an annual rent of only £45. From 1904 to 1988 the building that now houses the Storehouse was a fermentation plant, but since then it’s been converted into a seven-storey visitor centre.

Guinness exhibition

Architecture and exhibits in the Storehouse

To get there you walk through the old cobbled streets of St James’ Gate, where you can still see the rail tracks used to transport the vats. The Storehouse building has been remodelled into the shape of a pint of Guinness – though on a major scale as it would hold 14.3 million pints if you filled it up. The building combines old and new, with the steel-framed structure restored to its original turquoise colour and escalators criss-crossing the atrium. Since it opened at the end of 2000 it has become Ireland’s biggest tourist attraction, with over a million visitors each year – including me for the third time last December.

Making Guinness

Learning about how Guinness is made

The seven floors take you through the history of Guinness, from its beginnings when Arthur Guinness started brewing porter – a dark beer that originated in London in the 18th century when it was popular with market porters – right up to it becoming a huge international brand. The tour is mostly self-guided, though groups of 10 or more can take a private tour with a guide. Visiting the Storehouse doesn’t take you through the areas where Guinness is made today (mainly due to the risk of contamination), but the first floor takes you through the ingredients used – hops, barley, yeast and water – and how the brewing process works. Further on you can learn about how Guinness is stored and transported, as well as seeing some of the classic Guinness adverts – from the Toucan to the surfing horses.

Guinness Storehouse bar

We finally get to the tasting bit…

After absorbing all that information, by the time you get to the top floors you’re more than ready to start  absorbing some of the Guinness itself. On the fourth floor is the opportunity to try your hand at pouring a pint of Guinness. Apparently it takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint, and if you manage to get the timing just right you’ll be rewarded with a certificate. But we decided to hold out for our drink until we reached the peak of the tour – and the building – at the spectacular Gravity Bar. On the seventh floor of the Storehouse, this circular glass bar is the highest point in Dublin with a 360 degree panoramic view across the city. With the sun shining through the James Joyce quotes engraved on the glass walls, it was the perfect place to relax with a pint. And with 10 million pints of Guinness drunk every day worldwide you won’t be the only one enjoying one, but I still think the ‘black gold’ never tastes better than it does there.

Gravity Bar, Guinness Storehouse

The view across Dublin from the Gravity Bar

The details

Entry to the Guinness Storehouse costs €20 per adult (or book online in advance for €18), €16 for seniors/students over 18, €13.50 for students under 18 or €6,50 for children aged 6–12. Tickets include a pint of Guinness (or soft drink for under 18s). It’s open 9.30am–5pm daily, and until 6pm in July and August. The Storehouse is a 20-minute walk from Dublin’s city centre, or a short taxi (or horse and cart) ride.

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The Guinness Storehouse: Home of Ireland’s Black Gold – On the Luce travel blog

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  • Reply
    D.J. - The World of Deej
    February 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Great story…Big Guinness lover here, so I hope to make it one day soon. Great view from the bar!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      February 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      It tastes pretty good anywhere but there’s something about that view that definitely helps it taste even better! Hope you manage to make the trip someday

  • Reply
    February 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    You’ve made me thirsty! I’d love a pint of the black stuff right now 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      February 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Yes I was thinking the same thing as I was writing it – though as it was 10am maybe best I don’t have any in the house!

  • Reply
    Marcia Clarke
    February 17, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Very inviting indeed, it’s been a long time since I had one. Also remember having it mixed with Vanilla ice cream in a shake. Hmmm…

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      February 17, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Wow, a Guinness-vanilla milkshake sounds amazing, might have to try that!

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Great post! Now I’m salivating for a pint.

    Arthur Guinness was brewing porter when the English put a tax on malted barley that was exported to Ireland. He created a new style of beer called stout when he decided to substitute some of the malted barley (taxed) with roasted barley (not taxed).

    Malted barley is barley that has been soaked in water until it sprouts then it is toasted. If it is lightly toasted it will produce a light colored beer. If it is toasted longer the beer will be darker.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      March 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks for the info – it’s strange how these things first come about, but the experimentation definitely worked out well for him!

  • Reply
    March 1, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    It’s definitely a great visit. But there are other stouts in Ireland.Not far from there, I recommend the house-brewed stouts and of Porterhouse in Parliament St and Nassau St.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      March 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks for the tip – I’ve been to the Porterhouse in London but never tried the Dublin one, so will add it to the list for my next visit.

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    March 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I didn’t realise it was shaped like a pint glass – I must have had one too many when I visited. Slainte!

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    September 6, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Ireland is a dream place to go…how I wish I could get there in just a snap. Never have travelled outside my country and if granted the chance, I want to experience Ireland and the rest of Europe..great Job Lucy.!!!

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      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      Ireland is a beautiful country – I’ve not seen much beyond Dublin but must go and see more soon as it’s so close to home!

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  • Reply
    January 14, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Pinned for future reference – my partner and I are taking a road trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland in early May this year and the Guinness Storehouse is on our drafted itinerary – this post will come in handy! 🙂

    • Reply
      January 16, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Sounds like you have a great trip planned – I’ve been to Dublin and Belfast but would love to see more of Ireland (though always have to make a stop at the Guinness Storehouse!).

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