Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You Look Like You Need a Guinness!

Day 3 in Ireland consisted on waking up at the crack of dawn and hopping on a 3 hour bus to Dublin! Jimmy had a ridiculous field trip all day so me Cam and KP had to occupy ourselves somehow and what better way than seeing Dublin! We slept almost all of the busride, so the sleep that we didn't get because we woke up early, was relatively made up in bus naptime. When they dropped us in Dublin we only had a few things on the agenda. See Trinity College and the Book of Kells, and go to the Guinness Storehouse. Yes, there are lots of things to see in Dublin, but when you have to pick and choose, you go for the important stuff!! like Bibles and Beer!
We started out at Trinity College which luckily ended up being very easy to find.

It is a beautiful campus right in the heart of Dublin. And there they have the Book of Kells. This is a collection of the four Gospels of the New Testament, made by Celtic monks around the year 800. They were so beautiful and impressive, covered with drawings and decorations in all different colors. You couldn't take pictures inside so you just have to believe me that I saw them, but you can google them and see pictures of how cool they are online.

Next we wandered. As three American students with no map or tour guide, we had no idea where we were going next. Luckily, the city of Dublin is no fool and knows where people want to go and have nice signs with arrows pointing in the direction of the Guinness Factory! So followed the signs we did! Just so happens on the road to beers was a few other famous touristy things to see in Dublin. We saw Dublin Castle..not the best castle I've ever seen:
The picture doesn't do it complete justice because there is more to it and some cool gardens out back.
Then this wonderful street we were on led us to Christ's Church..another pretty famous thing in Dublin, we took a quick peek inside and went on to our true destination!

Finally the Guinness Storehouse! Nothing quite compares to the vastness, immensity and coolness of this place.    Saint James' Gate in Dublin is where they brew the Guinness every Irish man and woman loves more than their own family. We obviously took the tour, complete with map and free pint. The tour is designed around the world's biggest Guiness pint glass. You start on the ground level (of 7floors total), and you see the lease that Arthur Guinness signed back in 1759 that leased our Saint James' Gate Brewery for 9,000 years! The world will never be without Guinness. Then you work your way up to the ingredients and how is made and transported and every aspect about making Guinness you could possibly want including all the advertising throughout the years.
The best lease ever signed.

A Gate at Saint James's Gate :)

A few casual kegs! They told us all this information about how they used to use thousands of kegs and how they had people making them almost 24/7. When the guys made their first barrel, the other guys would put the newbie in the barrel with Guinness and hops and ash and whatever they could find, and roll them down a hill in their barrel. Good ol' fashion hazing! An SHS specialty. Anyway basically you get to the 6th floor after learning so much about Guinness, about how its made and even doing a proper taste test, and then you have to decide: pour your own Guinness or have one up at the Gravity bar (highest point in Dublin a person can go and all glass so you can see everything!). Well lets just say with a mom who bartends in her spare time, I was obviously going to learn how to pour a "proper" Guinness! I didn't realize it was so precise. To quote our teacher, "You pull the handle to 90 degrees, holding the glass at 45 degrees, slowly adjust the glass (like any beer) and fill until you hit the top of the harp...then let sit for two minutes, then to top it off you fill the rest with just beer, no gas, so you push the nosel away from you..then you should have a perfect Guinness with one fingers width of foam on top/" I had no idea it was complicated! 

Here I am pouring my Guinness like a pro! They even gave us certificates, very kindergartenesque, that said certified that I had poured a perfect Guinness. :) yay me!
But one free one wasn't enough, so we sat at another bar on that floor and got a second one to savor for all its portery goodness! Then we went up to the Gravity Bar, which was soo cool! We saw all of Dublin in a 360 degree view in a bar of all glass. My camera died at this point so I didn't get any good pics. But here is the website, I recommend taking a peek!

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