Day three of this adventure began with us waking up a number of hours earlier than my body was expecting or hoped for. I think I’m going to have to get used to this routine of sleep depravity.
We made our way to the “kitchen” area of The Bunkhouse and partook in the wonderful plethora of breakfast goodness that awaited us – toast and jelly. Oh Dublin, you spoil us. After breakfast we suited up again, then snagged some directions for the Guinness Factory, and were on our way.
On our way to the factory however, we got rather distracted (to no one’s surprise) by the incredible collection of beautiful cathedrals along the way. Four Simkins men walking the streets of a foreign country, you better believe it’s going to take us four times as long to get anywhere.
We stopped and admired the beautiful architecture of Christ Church Cathedral that was founded in 1038. We briefly snuck inside where there was a partition blocking off one of the private wings, with the words’ Foxy Friars” printed on the inside. We snickered like the children we are, took a picture, and were one the move once more.
Our next accidental stop was at the resplendent Dublin Castle, where apparently there was a private governmental conference taking place that we were not aware of. But approaching the desk with confidence and four suits, we actually were almost granted entrance to this privileged meeting. They caught on to our game, and told us that we were not allowed to enter, to which we graciously thanked them and left.
After stopping to observe a few other remarkable buildings, we finally arrived at the Guinness Storehouse safely. Naturally, the first thing we did was find the massive gate with the Guinness logo painted on it and did a dance to pay tribute. We’re confident the gate was thankful.
On our tour of this fascinated factory, we learned useless and pertinent things like the fact that Arthur Guinness took a 9,000-year lease on the property for the measly annual rent of £45. As we made our way through the seven-level museum/storehouse shaped like a Guinness pint glass, we learned about the unique brewing process and standards, about the inimitable history and economical outcomes of such a company, and observed old commercials and advertising posters with slogans like “Guinness is good for you”. One commercial even depicted a doctor talking about a patient who was stricken with anxiety, stating, “I prescribed him Guinness and his mood was improved, his spirit was lifted, and he became jovial, elated, and talkative.” Yes, these were actual advertisements. We each tell our stories our own way, eh?
After we passed through the Guinness tasting area where we all learned to properly “hear, smell, and drink” a Guinness, we found a long room for certain clips were being shown regarding the history of the company. As a looked at the furniture, with its odd camber and shape, I thought to myself “We could spell ‘SN10’ out of this here furniture!” And so we did. We waited until everyone had left the room, and began re-arranging all of the furniture to spell what would soon because our infamous trademark. With the task taking a bit longer than we anticipated, and the surprisingly patient crowd that was forming, we finally finished our masterpiece. This was the result:
We then made it up to the top and final level called the “Skybar” , which was a 310 degree panoramic room with an unbelievable view of the city – the very first skyscraper in Dublin. Upon entering this room, we were met by a team of “professional pourers” that, in exchange for out ticket stub, poured for us what they described as “the freshest Guinness you will ever taste”, merely ten days old. Now I’m no beer connoisseur, but I’m fairly certain that on that day, I experienced the best commercial brew I’ll ever have in my life.
We each got our beers and went to forage some chairs by the windows to take in some of the beautiful scenery around us on this clear Ireland day –one of the three clear days they get per year, apparently. We found some seats next an incredibly nice lady who was there with her daughter. We began chatting it up with them for a while, and as it turned out, the mother was a tax accountant for the mega-burrito chain “Chipotle” who was traveling no business, and decided to take her teenage daughter with her. As our conversation was wrapping up and we were preparing to head to our next Irish adventure, she handed each of us a free burrito voucher to use once we reached London for a free meal, as they had just opened their first store in the UK a couple months prior. Knowing full well that finances were going to be tight during this trip, we were absolutely elated at this surprising act of generosity and kindness. And for the possibility of a free burrito. Who doesn’t love burritos, especially when they’re free?
We thanked them all again, said our good-byes, gave a hearty salute to Arthur Guinness (after snagging one more taste from the sample room) and were off to see what else was in store for us in this great city of Dublin.
To be continued….