A Trip to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin: A Wonka-Like Experience (With Beer)

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All photos by Laine Doss
The Guinness Storehouse and Brewery: A theme-park of beer.
A trip to Dublin absolutely cannot exist without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse.

In a city rich with history including Trinity College, the homes of James Joyce and Bram Stoker, Dublin castle, and Viking remnants, the number one tourist attraction is a visit to the Arthur Guinness's vision of beertopia. Why?

The Storehouse is about much more than beer. It's about the Guinness family, which has steep roots in Irish history, and also about the deep pride the people of Dublin have in their dark ruby-colored product.

Long before the enormous brewery comes into view, you'll get a whiff of hops and barley in the moist, chill Irish air. It's a wonderful scent that gets you giddy for the experience long before you enter the building.

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Upon entering, you'll catch a glimpse of the actual massive Guinness compound in the mist. Indeed, the scene is straight out of the original Willy Wonka movie, with giant black iron gates opening to large brick structures and steel tanks spouting steam. Tourists take pictures, as jaunting cars (horse drawn carriages) offer rides around the grounds. It's a better theme park attraction than the ones at Universal. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has got nothing on this place.

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Once inside, pay your admission fee (16.50 euros -- about $20, but there are tons of discounts), which includes a pint of Guinness or an orange soda for kids (yes, kids are most welcome here). The building, part of the working brewery from 1902 through 1988, was re-designed to include a glass atrium shaped as a massive seven-story pint glass. If full, it would hold 14.3 million pints of Guinness. Now, look down. You're standing on the 9,000-year lease that founder Arthur Guinness signed on the St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin. That's some forward thinking.

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The first part of the tour walks you through the process of beer making. You're invited to stand under a waterfall, touch turn-of-the-century equipment, and "be the beer" as it goes through the boiling and fermenting processes.

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