Thursday, 18 December 2014

Dublin #2

Having just finished editing and exporting my photos for today's post, I can say without a doubt that my promise of a longer post has certainly been fulfilled. This post is all about our second day in the lovely city of Dublin...enjoy!

After a great nights sleep in our comfy hotel beds, we woke up to a lovely blue sky and after gobbling down a bit of brekkie (eggs and soldiers for me, scrambled eggs on toast for mum), we wandered down to St Stephen's green. The main reason for this was to catch the ol' hop-on-hop-off bus. We blimmin' love those things - whichever new city I go to, I tend to take a trip on one of these. I find they cover the best attractions, and are good for getting your bearings, as well as the history of the city.

To get to the bus stop we walked through the Christmas market, everything was closed but it still looked pretty. We did take another trip to the markets the day after, but you will be hearing about that in the next post!

The first attraction we wanted to visit was the Guinness Storehouse. A trip to Dublin would definitely be incomplete without visiting here, and it surpassed every expectation I had. Housed in the old St. James brewery, the style of the place is all very industrial but it has been done up so well into a great interactive museum. 

The first area you arrive at is the gift shop (I bought myself a t-shirt after the tour) which was heaving with everything Guinness! Everything was really good quality too - definitely one of the better gift shops I have ever been to. After a quick introduction from a member of staff at the bottom of the pint glass building (the museum is built out of glass in the shape of a pint glass dontcha know) we were free to head through the big 'START' sign and start our tour. 

As I said before, the interior was all really cool. Lots of bare brick walls, metal piping and painted on messages. The first section was mainly about how the beer was made, what the ingredients were and the history of the brewers. It was all very interesting, and really well laid out.

Guinness, unlike popular belief, is not made from the water of the River Liffey but is actually made using water from the mountains. This cool water feature made sure you wouldn't forget that fact!

Our next stop on our tour was the 'Tasting Experience'. Here, we walked through a very noisy and dark corridor into a bright white tasting room. It seriously looked like something from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, with a bar to the left (only serving Guinness of course) and four large white cylinders dotted through out where the aromas of the four main ingredients were expelled in a cloud of white mist.

After having a sniff of each individual component (none of which smelled particularly nice in my opinion) we were poured a mini glass of guinness each and moved through into a different room where we were taught how to taste it. 

Now, unfortunately for me, this was where I realised that perhaps I didn't like the taste of Guinness that much...but that I didn't let that spoil the rest of the tour for me! 

The advertising exhibition was next up, followed by a trip to the Guinness Academy where you were taught how to pull the perfect pint (you even got a certificate!).

As you can see, I most certainly did pull a perfect pint and I also created a beautiful little Guinness moustache. After our little masterclass, we launched ourselves into the glass lift (yet more Roald Dahl similarities) and up into the Gravity Bar with our pints. Here, we cheekily asked for a bit of blackcurrant cordial to be put in, which immensely improved the taste in my opinion.

A little panorama from the glass walled, roof top bar. 

Then, after a spot of lunch in the Brewer's Dining Hall complete with Guinness bread, we hopped back onto the bus and headed over to Kilmainham Gaol

This is one of the oldest gaols (jails) in Ireland and was absolutely fascinating. Access to the jail is by guided tour only, but at €2 for a student and €4 for an adult it is an absolute steal. Our tour guide was called David and was really friendly and kept everybody interested throughout. I won't give you any spoilers about the guided tour, but if you do ever get a chance to go I would highly advise asking about attempted escapes. 

With the hour-long tour complete, and a quick look around the adjoined museum we climbed back onto the double decker and made our way back into the centre. 

We were actually really tired by this point, and with the sky turning dark we decided to head back to the hotel. However, before this we made time for a quick wander around the beautiful grounds of Trinity College. We didn't have time to look at their library, but I hear it is well worth a visit. 

After a quick chill out at the hotel, we headed back out for a few drinks before dinner. Drury Buildings was our cocktail bar of choice, and situated just next door to our hotel it was in a perfect location. I chose a Bramble while mum had her favourite - Aperol Spritz. 

Last but not least for our second day in Dublin, we headed to Toscana for a wonderful italian meal. The food was delicious, but if I had one criticism it would be that the staff weren't the most attentive - but I suppose that is just me being picky!!

If you stuck with this post all the way to the end, well done! I know it was a long one, but I just had so much I wanted to show you and couldn't decide which bits to cut out (and believe me, many photos didn't get featured!). I should have one more Dublin post coming up, and if anybody has any particular questions they want to ask about my trip then I would love it if you left a comment below! 

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