Last night I visited a place I've never been before with some people if never met before. A place where millions of tourists have at the top of their Irish bucket lists and I finally visited last night. Thirteen years late. I finally went through the Guinness Storehouse experience (and much much more)
So there I was on a chilly autumn night, the smell of fresh rain in the air and I'm walking in the dark, on my own through the dark cobbled streets of the Liberties. In every way possible, it is a stunning night. The old rail tracks amongst the cobbles tell me I'm nearing my hallowed destination.
In many ways, the Storehouse experience is the typical tourist experience. People everywhere equate Guinness to Ireland and Irish culture and dare I say... Rightly so. My first experience with Guinness came as a ten year old when my uncle thought it would be okay for me to have a sip of the Foreign Extra Stout Guinness. Well that was me done! I wouldn't touch The dark stuff again for another decade and change!
The storehouse building itself is just massive with a store and a restaurant as you expect but then there's more. There is the tour through the process of crafting the four individual ingredients of Guinness into what we know it to be and there is an imperceptible rise through the building (which is shaped like a pint for good measure)
Throughout the tour, you will spend your time looking around, running your fingers over beautiful antiquated machines and barrels but most importantly looking up into the building and as you rise through it, looking down into the beautiful abyss. The tour is a treat to the senses (and all five will be stimulated)
Most beautiful about the storehouse is the contrast between old and new. Old wooden beams sit side by side or embedded into state of the art displays; the steel beams run alongside beautiful opaque glass tiles and so on... Last night was special however as we got to see more than just the usual experience, we were treated with the brand new advertising archive floor and in a word; BRILLIANT.
For people like myself who are drawn to visual feasts, this floor was more than a treat it was a few Christmases arriving at once. Guinness are well known for their creative and almost visceral advertising and you are placed right in the middle of all this history of their advertising through the years. From the famous seal to the whistling oyster, the bicycle riding fish and more. This all culminates in an amazing 270 degree experience of the most heart pounding of Guinness ads from different regions worldwide.
After this friendly assault on the senses, there was a quick biters eat and then it was into the beautifully designed Guinness connoisseur room for the main event... Guinness tasting. We were given four types of Guinness to sample through the oh so elegant retro nasal breathing technique (I'll be using that for a while to come). The passion from all the guides was palpable and was almost like another person in the room. These guys love Guinness and they want us to... They're succeeding.
There was one last surprise for us as we finished the tasting... We got to move up to the Gravity bar where the lights were turned off for what can only be described as breathtaking views of Dublin. My pictures don't quite do the view any justice.
So there you have it! The Guinness Storehouse Experience and the Advertising Archives are an absolute treat and a must visit for everyone; locals and tourists alike.
I am Timi