If you’re an ISI student taking time off from studying English in Dublin, why not take a trip to the Guinness Storehouse?
The Guinness Storehouse is one of Dublin’s most famous and popular tourist attractions. It is situated in St. James’s Gate, and the smell of brewing barley and hops wafts over the entire area as the legendary drink is being brewed. Over its seven storeys, you can learn the full history and gain a greater appreciation of Ireland’s most renowned export. Located next door to the Guinness brewery itself, the Guinness Storehouse was at one point the first skyscraper in the entire British isles!
Brief History of the Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Storehouse was conceived as a tourist destination in 1997, and it opened its doors to the public in the year 2000. The building dates from 1902, and was originally used as the fermentation plant for St. James’s Gate Brewery – this was where yeast was added to the beer. The architecture of the building is quite spectacular, and the design reflects the ideas of the Chicago School of Architecture. Once it was conceived as a tourist attraction, the building was redesigned – the seven storeys are now grouped around a great glass atrium, which is shaped, appropriately, into the form of a giant pint of Guinness!
Since its opening in 2000, the Guinness Storehouse has received upwards of 20 million visitors, which averages at about a million people a year. Some famous visitors to the Guinness Storehouse have included Tom Cruise and Conan O’Brien, as well as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who made history when they visited in May 2011 as part of their state visit to Ireland.
What to see in the Guinness Storehouse
On the ground floor of the Guinness Storehouse, visitors are introduced to the main ingredients of the drink: water, hops, barley and yeast. There is also a copy of the original 9000-year lease, as signed by the original brewer, Arthur Guinness, who lent the drink his name. On subsequent floors, you can not only get to taste free samples, but you may also see a whole section devoted to the history of Guinness advertising. Some of the old adverts are hugely charming, not least in their iconic use of bird characters to sell the drink. If you’re feeling hungry, the fifth floor plays host to a number of fine restaurants, such as the 1837 Bar and Brasserie.
The Gravity Bar in the Guinness Storehouse
But perhaps the highlight of the tour comes on the topmost seventh storey, where one may enjoy a free pint of perfectly poured Guinness in the aptly named Gravity Bar. Not only do visitors get a chance to pull their own pints, but the Gravity Bar also boasts a truly spectacular 360 degree view of Dublin city. On a clear day you can see for many miles, and the panoramic vista of Dublin city is a lovely thing to contemplate as you wait for your stout to settle. It’s a spectacle not to be missed!
So there you go – if you’re an ISI student taking a break from studying English in Dublin, there are few more colourful attractions available in the city than the Guinness Storehouse. You’ll not only learn a lot about the history and the brewing process, you’ll also get to satisfy your thirst – especially if the day is hot. Enjoy Guinness responsibly – and have fun!