The Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson distillery did not live up to the hype.
I know I’ve written some pretty negative reviews about activities I’ve been a part of in Ireland. While I like Dublin itself as a city, I just haven’t been too crazy about some of the things I’ve done here. At the end of the day, though, I’m pretty glad I’ve had the opportunity to participate. But this afternoon of alcohol left a bad taste in my mouth.
All I heard coming here was, “Guinness, Guinness, Guinness.” I was under the impression that we would go on some guided tour where the guide would show us how Guinness is brewed inside a real brewery.
To the Guinness company’s credit, a guide did gather a crew at the beginning and mentioned the 9,000-year lease Arthur Guinness signed for the grounds his buildings sit on, as well as the fact that the inside of the facility formed the world’s largest pint glass. After that, though, she just turned us loose inside what wound up being a giant museum talking about the Guinness family legacy and the history of the company with some cafes strewn about.
Last year, I visited the Busch brewery in St. Louis. We had a guide who showed us various vats and buildings where the brewing process occurred. He took us all around the grounds where different parts of the process were performed and gave us various tidbits on the company history.
In 2000, I went to the Coors brewery in Colorado, which was also a guided tour. Not Guinness. Instead, we were expected to guide ourselves through seven floors. I was okay with this until about the third floor when I realized how much I didn’t want to be there anymore and how I felt like I was somehow cheated out of my €11.
The only highlight I’d call out here was the Gravity Bar, but that’s a stretch. The bar does provide 360-degree views of Dublin, but I’m sure I spilled a drop or two of Guinness bumping into the massive amount of people that occupied the space. After we took our pictures, we went back down the sixth floor where Dylan and Carolyn got a pint, Gabby a Diet Coke, and Melanie and I sparkling lemonade.
No, I didn’t drink at the Guinness factory.
The Jameson factory tour was at least guided by somebody. “Factory” is a misleading term, because like Guinness, we were not shown a functioning distillery. Instead, the guide showed replicas of real machines. The guide herself stuck to the script exactly and was a little shaken when she went astray. This slightly turned me off from the tour because I didn’t want to hear a memorized lecture. I want some personality from my tour guides. Even toward the end of the tour, she seemed to just be rattling off her ending spiel as she exited the tasting room.
Maybe if I drank, the free pint of Guinness and free Jameson whiskey would’ve been worth it.