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Published: January 30th 2014
Our last hours in Dublin were dedicated to visiting the Guinness Storehouse. As someone who has never really been fond of beer I wasn't expecting much out of the experience, but Michael wanted to go and he had been extremely patient with my itinerary up until that point. I'm glad that he suggested it, because it turned out to be one of the best things that we did.
Compared to Dublin's other main attractions, the storehouse is a little out of the way but definitely worth the bus ride and short walk. It's in a gorgeous red brick building, and though getting in is a little pricey (€14.50 for adults and €13 for students over 18) it comes with a coupon for a free pint or a free soda at the GRAVITY Bar. If you pay attention when walking in, you'll notice that the main Atrium is actually in the shape of a giant pint glass and Arthur Guinness's original lease is encased in glass in the floor. The document would be interesting on its own, but it's doubly fascinating because it really does say that the lease is for 9000 years. I think calling Arthur Guinness a confident man
is an understatement.
After the Atrium you move into the rooms that showcase Guinness's four main ingredients and the painstaking process involved in crafting a pint. It's a really fun and immersive experience; you get to stand behind a waterfall and taste roasted barley, all while moving around the body of the giant pint glass. I have a deep, strange love of old bottles, so the merchandising rooms were like a treasure trove to me. They're full of oddly-shaped bottles and advertising posters from different eras, including an entire room devoted to the animals of the "Lovely Day for a Guinness" campaign. At the very top of the storehouse is GRAVITY Bar, which is where you pick up your free pint. Understandably, it was packed. Once Michael and I had our turn, we retreated to the glass walls and enjoyed the gorgeous panoramic view of Dublin and the Wicklow Mts. in the distance. Even if you have no intention of cashing in your free pint, GRAVITY is a must-see.
Another part of the experience that is definitely worth the price is Gilroy's Restaurant on the 5th floor. There are several places to eat and drink in the storehouse,
but the Guinness and beef stew in the restaurant is out of this world. It was hearty and warm, and it might have been the most delicious thing that I had in Ireland. I offered a taste to Michael, and he agreed that it was stupendous.
"Here, try the mash too, it's fantastic," I said, spooning up a generous helping of my mashed potatoes.
Michael smiled a little and asked, "Why do you call them that?"
I shrugged. "I don't know, it's just something I picked up over in England. They drop a lot of syllables, like in 'mash' and 'advert.'" I took another bite and sighed. "Oh, I haven't had proper mash like this in a while."
"Proper!" he said, pointing at me and laughing. "You've been using that word all week."
Blushing, I shrugged again and said, "I can't help it. I've been spending a lot of time with English people."
Some things stick around. I still use "mine" when talking about my place, as in "We'll go to mine for drinks," and you'll catch me saying "advert" every now and then. One time in African Theatre I even used an English
accent during a scene where the class was taking turns reading lines. My original reading stuck out like an ugly chord, but when I used an accent the next time around everyone thought it was hilarious. You'll never win completely, so don't worry about it.
Before we left the restaurant we ordered a lemon tart and summer berry compote to share, and they were absolutely lovely. Down in the city center, we took one last walk along the Liffey River and visited our favorite parts of Dublin. We waved at Four Courts, whose Gaelic name swirled along my tongue like lemonade, bright and sweet: Na Ceithre Cúirteanna
. We crossed Ha'Penny bridge twice just for the hell of it, and took one more stroll through Temple Bar before we had to fly back to London that evening. Some of the best times come about when you put the maps down and just let your feet take you, and I hope that mine will bring me back to this amazing city. Until then, I will carry a piece of it close to my heart.
Doyle's really said it best: There is a good time coming, be it ever so far away.
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