{Ireland} Good things come to those who wait – the Guinness Storehouse

May 5, 2016

Ireland

100 Museums Challenge: Museum No.35

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When I was asking around what I should see and do when I go to Dublin – it was my first time there – the number one thing everyone said was ‘The Guinness Experience’! By that, they were referring to the Guinness Storehouse, which opened in 2000 as a tourist attraction in a fermentation plant of the St James Gate Brewery. You may ask why I am writing about something which is blatantly marketed as a tourist attraction rather than a museum, but since it includes exhibits about the production and advertising of Guinness which feature original artefacts, as well as the Guinness Archive, I feel it merits inclusion.

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My friend and I had booked tickets for first thing on Saturday morning. Our ‘journey’ started on the ground floor, with a copy of the famous 9000 year lease signed by Arthur Guinness in 1759 when the brewery was founded. The original lease is held in the Guinness Archive, along with photographs, film material, posters, bottles and other artefacts and memorabilia documenting the history of the Guinness company, brand and products in Ireland. Sadly, the Archive is only open during the week, so we didn’t get to go inside, but you can see a collection of Guinness bottles through the years in the window of the archive.

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On the same floor, there is also an exhibition about the four natural ingredients that go in to making Guinness – barley, yeast, hops and water – and in the ‘Arthur Guinness Gallery’ on the mezzanine level, you can meet several characters in moving ‘paintings’ (very Harry Potter!) talking the history of Guinness and the Guinness family, including a nurse and a barkeeper.

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On Level 1, you will learn more about the brewing process, the ancient craft of cask making, and the various transport methods used by Guinness over the centuries. On Level 2, you get your first taste of a shot of Guinness, when you learn how to “hone your senses…to the sight, aroma, flavour, taste and feel of a perfect pint of Guinness.” Though you’ll have to wait a bit longer to savour a full pint.

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Onwards, to Level 3, and my favourite part of the Guinness Storehouse: the exhibition on Guinness advertising through the years, from the first print adverts of the 1920s, to current TV adverts from around the world. Here you can pose with some of the most famous Guinness characters, add yourself to well known posters via the photo booths, and watch iconic film adverts on giant screens – who else remembers the surfer and the ‘good things come to those who wait’ slogan?

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“A woman needs a man, like a fish needs a bicycle!”

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Working our way up the building, we took the chance to pour our own pint in the ‘Guinness Academy’ (you get a certificate to take home as proof), which we then took up to the Gravity Bar on the top floor, to enjoy some great views of Dublin. If you don’t want to pour your own pint, you can also redeem your free pint of Guinness, which is included in the admission ticket, at any of the Guinness Storehouse bars. Finally, we enjoyed some very tasty and reasonably priced food in the ‘Brewer’s Dining Hall’, before exiting via the giftshop. Including lunch, we were there over four hours, and we had a fantastic time – I’d definitely recommend going with a friend, if you can – so I would say we definitely got our money’s worth. If you book in advance online, and if you go early, it’s cheaper than buying tickets on the door or going later in the day, so we paid only 16 Euros instead of 20 Euros. That includes a pint of Guinness, which will cost you on average around 5 Euros in Dublin, which takes the actual admission price down to little more than a cinema visit, and we spent twice as long there as any film.

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So the next time someone asks *me* what the number one thing is they should do in Dublin, I’ll also be saying ‘The Guinness Experience’. That, and the Little Museum of Dublin. This is, after all, a museum blog ;)

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The Guinness Storehouse is open seven days a week, and all opening times and admission prices can be found on their website.

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