Guinness is a popular dry stout that originated in Arthur Guinness' brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland. The beer is based on the porter style that originated in London in the early 18th century. It is one of the most successful beer brands in the world, being exported worldwide. It is very popular in Ireland, of course, although many other types and brands of beer are available in pubs.
The self guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse Center is a very popular thing to do while visiting Dublin. You can actually smell Guinness in the air when you are in this part of Dublin, as you can see by the exhaust steam being released from the brewery in the photo below.
The tour describes the four ingredients that make Guinness -- water barley hops and yeast.
Guinness used an advertising campaign in the 1920's where they claimed at the time that "Guinness is Good For You," and it was served to hospital patients and nursing mothers. Surprising enough the claim may be somewhat true -- the BBC reported findings that "antioxidant compounds" found in Guinness may actually lower cholesterol!
Guinness is brewed to make a thick black stout. It certainly is an acquired taste, much more bitter and heavier than the other types of beer, but my husband and I enjoy it. There is nothing better than a fresh Guinness pint in Dublin, the city where it is produced!
Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease with the city of Dublin in 1759 for the St. James Gate property where the original brewery was located. The final family member to be directly involved with the running of the Brewery was Benjamin Guinness who passed away in 1992. Today, the brewery is owned by Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks company, who also boast Baileys, Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker Whisky among others in their drinks portfolio.
The Guinness family was very influential in Dublin, and all of Ireland, especially Edward Cecil Guinness who was to be the first Lord Iveagh. He was also responsible for establishing the Guinness Trust, which later became known as the Iveagh Trust and provided homes for the poor in both Dublin and London, and other philanthropic works.
Aside from the fact that you can spend the day discovering the ingredients, process, craft, time and passion that goes into making each individual pint at the Guinness Storehouse, you can also relax in the lavish Gravity Bar, seen above, with your free pint that is offered when you take the tour. The Gravity Bar is situated above the roof, and from the outside is seen as the head of a pint of Guinness. This is the highest bar in Ireland and has 360 degrees panoramic views across Dublin – an experience not to be missed!
Dublin’s pubs are a ubiquitous part of its living history and culture. They are the famous haunts of its literary set, politicians, rock stars and of course, Dubliners! During the daytime whole families can be seen visiting pubs, and coffee, tea soda and bottle waters are usually available.
We were told that there are almost 1,000 pubs in the city, so I'd like to show you some of our favorites.
Below is Dawson Lounge --The Dawson Lounge is located on Dawson Street at the Stephens Green and it calls itself "probably the smallest pub in the world." You enter through the red door, go down a winding staircase to the basement room which can only hold about 20 people. It was fun to experience such a cozy space underground.
Next is The Brazen Head, which is located on Bridge Street on the south side of the city and is the oldest pub in Dublin, a pub having always stood on this spot since 1198.
The Brazen Head has lots of nook and cranny areas to sit in, and a nice buffet lunch selection. This is where we had a delicious vegetable soup for lunch one day. I was sitting in an area that was wallpapered with American dollar bills that past patrons signed and left behind to tell everyone they had visited. We visited this pub the last time we were in Ireland, and enjoyed the atmosphere so much we had to come back. I highly recommend it to anyone who visits!
The Temple Bar area of Dublin is an area on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin. Unlike the areas surrounding it, Temple Bar has preserved its medieval street pattern, with many narrow cobbled streets. It is promoted as "Dublin's cultural quarter" and has a lively nightlife and pubs that are popular with both tourists and locals.
The Temple Bar is situated in the heart of Temple Bar, and is consistently one of the liveliest pubs in Temple Bar! That sounds a little like a tongue twister rhyme, doesn't it?
The Oliver St.John Gogarty Pub is situated on the corner of Fleet Street and Anglesea Street in the centre of Temple Bar. It offers a good lively atmosphere with music filling the air - both Irish and the latest sounds. A live band plays upstairs at the weekend.
My husband and I had a fun time celebrating the European (soccer) Cup match at Gogarty's Pub one evening. Two teams from the United Kingdom were competing in Moscow, and it was on the TVs everywhere.
Located in the heart of Temple Bar the Auld Dubliner is a very lively place. It was very crowded the day we stopped by, so we didn't go in, and I only took photos of the outside of it.
Another "photo only" pub we passed -- the Ha'penny Bridge Inn, which is situated on Wellington Quay in the city center.
It is located right next to the Ha'Penny Bridge which crosses over the Liffey River!
The Quays is situated in the heart of Temple Bar and is a great spot. During the day, it gets a steady stream of people in and out enjoying it's pleasant and amiable atmosphere
The next two pubs I only took photos of because I liked their exteriors, especially the flowers growing over their windows and doorways.
Dohney Nesbitts is located on Baggot Street at the Stephens Green end. From the outside it looks like a small pub, but it opens out at the back into a lively open area
The John Kehoe Pub below is situated on South Anne Street juts down the road from the busy shopping area of Grafton Street. The sign on the side of the building said it was established in 1803, and has a James Joyce quote on it:
"In the particular is contained the universal"
followed by this prose by "Luke --barman."
"Within these walls, years have passed by; From the talented and famous to the apples of ones eye. All walks have tread footsteps and sipped the pint of stout. Kehoe’s with all its charm and beauty will surely live generations out!"
Ireland has a "no smoking" law for public places, including pubs, since 2004, so many pubs have an outdoor beer garden, if possible, where smoking is allowed. It's a great idea, and I'm happy to say that New York City has the same law.
The Stags Head is situated in Dame Court which is just off Georges Street. It has an old style feel inside with wooden decor. I only stopped to take a photo of it's pretty entrance mosaic floor.Bruxelles is situated on Harry Street just off the middle of Grafton Street. Upstairs is the casual pub playing the latest music, downstairs has both a rock music area and an alternative music area.
There is a commemorative statue of Phil Lynott, rock bassist for the group " Thin Lizzy" outside Bruxelles.
Many of the pubs in Ireland offer meals and entertainment, and all can be a community gathering place for socializing, and sharing stories and daily events.
They certainly were a wonderful place to spend an hour or two, relax, listen to music and have a delicious lunch or dinner!
Next blog I'll show you the beautiful St. Stephens Green Park in Dublin.