Our Dublin Itinerary:
- start the day with the breakfast of champions
- see one of Ireland’s national treasures
- mix with the locals at the games they play best
Something smells right.
It isn’t quite the smell of napalm in the morning, but something far more pleasant. As we approach the forbidding gates of the Guinness factory, the air is full of toasty, malty notes. For those of you who have tried Vegemite, this is that smell.
It is a little early for a beer. Ok – it’s nine am. But given the near universal popularity of Guinness, that king of stouts, that lord of dark ales, that meal in a pint glass – we wanted to beat the rush.
We take a tip from a local and head to the credit card machines on the left once we’re inside the storehouse. That way, we not only avoid the queues, but we also get our free drink voucher for the upstairs lounge if we choose ‘Print Receipt’.
Guinness has been a part of Irish life since around 1778, varying from a porter to a stout to a double stout. Today, it is one of the most popular beers in the world.
The size and scale of the Guinness Storehouse attests to the popularity of Guinness and the pull it has on the imaginations of visitors to Ireland. Make sure, when you enter, to look up through the many storied heights and try and guess (without being told) what shape the building resembles.
As we ascend, we are recounted the Guinness story, smelling and tasting the raw inputs including the all important water (the reason the factory is located where it is).
Reaching the top floor, we have panoramic views of Dublin, with passages from the collected works of Joyce pointing out icons of the city.
And there’s that complimentary Guinness for breakfast.
It really doesn’t taste as good anywhere else in the world as it does right here in Dublin, from the very source. Slainte!
James Joyce’s Dublin
It’s impossible to mention Dublin without conjuring this city’s most storied biographer. Joyce, for all his super-modernist tendencies, also tenderly chronicled the lives of the ordinary characters around him.To get a feel for Joyce’s Dublin;
See the Book of Kells
The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, in a style of intricacy and dedication that we probably don’t understand in a disposable modern world. The Trinity College Library (also the largest library in Ireland and bearer of the rare title of copyright library) is fortunate to possess these awesome (in the true meaning of that world) manuscripts containing the four Gospels of the New Testament, illustrated around 800 AD.
You can see all of the books online by visiting the digital archive, but you will miss out on the very informative tour that accompanies this permanent exhibition, showing the mediaeval book-making techniques, and even how the monks corrected mistakes in a time without such a thing as White-Out.
Meet the Irish at Temple Bar
Despite starting the day with a Guinness, by mid-afternoon we’re feeling strangely parched again. Luckily, the lively entertainment district of Temple Bar should throw up one or two options for quenching that thirst.