Ireland | the Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse My birthday is the day after St. Patrick's Day.  For as long as I can remember I loved St. Patrick's Day.  I loved it because I loved having a holiday close to my birthday.  I think shamrock shakes from McDonald's are awesome.  And one of my favorite things to eat is corned beef and cabbage.  (Oh and Karen and I learned that in London they call corned beef "salty beef".  You're welcomed for that fun fact.) So it comes as no surprise that I've wanted to spend my birthday in Ireland, and what better birthday to celebrate than my 30th!  Yay!

While I'm not a big celebrator of my birthday, I was very excited to go to the Guinness Storehouse and learn how to poor a proper Guinness (a dream come true).  Karen and I woke up extra early for the St. Patrick's Day parade which was basically a bunch of American marching bands and very weird European theatrical performers. The gaps in American and European culture were very wide in the parade.  But another post on that later.  Once we were done with the parade we went straight for a taxi and off to the Guinness Storehouse.  We arrived at a perfect time when it was relatively empty.  (Karen suspected everyone was probably still making their way from the parade.)

First thing we did was go through the tour of the "brewery" which, like the Jameson Distillery, was only a mock up.  Karen and I breezed through it and went straight for some yummy food.  We had several restaurants with different types of food to choose from, and we decided upon Gilroy's.  I ordered the "Rich Guinness and beef casserole with mashed potatoes" with a half pint of Guinness and a dessert of Guinness ice cream and fruit.  The casserole was absolutely delicious.  It melted in my mouth it was so good.

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At first we thought, "Is this it?" as it seemed like the Storehouse wasn't as big a deal as we had heard.  We had already explored a couple of levels, when we realized we had totally missed a bunch of floors. Because it was St. Patrick's Day different parts of the Storehouse were buzzing with bands and performers.  And on each floor there was some kind of demonstration or exhibit to explore. The Guinness Storehouse was really great fun, and we spent a good portion of the day enjoying it all.

I went crazy when I discovered a pouring class was included in our entry ticket.  The little lady showed us the proper way to pour a Guinness, and I felt so giddy doing it myself.  Guinness in Ireland is so much better than in the States, and I wondered if it was because it's being poured incorrectly.  Needless to say, I love learning and taking classes, so of course I loved learning how to pour a proper pint. Yay! Hurray!

If you're ever in Ireland, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse is a fun touristy thing to do.  Make sure you buy your tickets online; you get a discount and don't have to wait in the long line to enter. 1366 guinness storehouse photography08 1366 guinness storehouse photography09 1366 guinness storehouse photography10 1366 guinness storehouse photography11 1366 guinness storehouse photography12 1366 guinness storehouse photography13All the images were taken using my Fuji x100s and iPhone 4s.


Ireland | where we stayed

1362 dublin hotel photography1 I knew one thing.  I wanted to be in Dublin on my birthday (which is the day after St. Patrick's Day).  One thing I forgot, though, was that many people (mostly American) wanted to be in Dublin on my birthday, too.  Hotels in Dublin during St. Patrick's Day were a bit pricey for my taste, but Karen and I found two hotels that were perfect for us.  We stayed our first two nights at the Radisson Blu St. Helen's Hotel and the second two nights at the Mespil Hotel in the Ballsbridge area.

The Radisson Blu St. Helen's Hotel was a cozy hotel built around an estate.  Exploring the hotel felt like I should be wearing a big dress and asking someone to take a turn around the room after a round of bridge.  It was a bit out of the way from Dublin City Center, but the bus in Dublin was really convenient.  We took the bus from the airport and to most of our desired destinations quite easily.  I really enjoyed staying at this hotel.  But let me mention this…. I estimate the distance from the street to the front door of the hotel was about a small city block.

The Mespil Hotel was an interesting contrast to the Radisson Blu.  It was much closer to the Dublin City Center (about a 15-20 minute) walk but was a little bit run down, even though the exterior did look fancy and modern.  The Mespil Hotel was also conveniently located near a bus stop, so when we didn't want to walk, the bus was a great alternative.  Overall both were great choices for hotels, and I'd recommend both!

1362 dublin hotel photography2 1362 dublin hotel photography3 1362 dublin hotel photography41362 dublin hotel photography5 1362 dublin hotel photography6pictures taken with the Fuji x100s and my iphone 4s.