Our first full day in Dublin started off with the free walking tour offered by the hostel. Unfortunately it rained cats and dogs for the entire morning along with very strong, cold winds blowing through the city. Elly and I only lasted an hour and a half on the tour. Neither of us had umbrellas or hoods, so we returned to the hostel looking like this….
After some snacks to tide us over until dinner, we decided to keep dry and warm up a bit by touring both the Jameson Distillery and the Guinness Brewery.
About a week beforehand, Elly and I had been at a USAC cheese tasting and discussed our upcoming trip with many students who had already seen Dublin. One USAC girl told Elly and I that the Jameson factory had a quiz on the top selling whiskeys from each country and a taste test. She said the answers were US – Jack, Canada – Crown Royal, Ireland – Jameson and Scotland- Johnny Walker. She bragged quite a bit about how she was the only one there who was young and female and yet she beat out all these middle aged experienced drinkers. I wasn’t overly impressed, because she also told me she is a bartender back in the states, but nonetheless winning a whiskey competition is pretty legit in my book. Elly and I were determined to win this quiz she talked about, but upon arrival in Ireland we realized we had forgotten the Scottish whiskey. Luckily a bartender in Cork had a book on whiskeys and we recognized the name when he let us search through it. When we finally got to the Jameson factory though we discovered this girl lied to us! There was no quiz and the taste testing competition she mentioned wasn’t a competition. I volunteered to be a taster, because I have more whiskey drinking experience than Elly, but when I sat down the names were all in front of the shots (of which there were only 3, Canada unrepresented). This girl told us she received a certificate for winning, but everyone got one. Tsk, tsk, somehow I always meet compulsive liars, everywhere I go.
Anyway, at the Jameson factory I got those three shots for volunteering to be a taster, as well as an extra one to mix with something and a fifth drink I thought was just cranberry juice until I tried it (The bartender came up right afterwards and was like “one drink per person!” I was caught with both glasses and just said, “Uh, I already drank it”. He let me keep both).
With 5 shots (small shots, maybe more like 4) under my belt, I felt pretty good by the time Elly and I arrived to the Guinness factory around 3 pm.
The tour there was self-guided and the factory is 5 stories! Elly was convinced they were trying to imitate Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory with beer haha (although she was feeling pretty good by this point as well).
At the top of the factory you get a free pint and a 360 degree view of the city that is incredible!
When I went up to order my beer, 2 French kids just stepped right in front of us. One got his ID shot down and these high school kids all got stuck with Fanta. Because Elly and I both had backpacks on the bartender assumed we were French too. I asked him, “Can I have a Guinness please?”
“Fanta?,” he replied.
So I pulled out my Passport and he started asking me if I was used to the rain because of Seattle. I love it when people recognize Seattle- a surprising amount of French people have never heard of it!
Elly and I both tried Guinness and decided we didn’t like it. I don’t detest it as much as she does, but I think it is an acquired taste I have yet to acquire. When we had both demolished about a quarter of a pint each, Elly told me, “I think I’m gonna chug this”. I turned around to look at the view. I swear I was only looking for 5-10 seconds, but when I turned back I found this:
This girl is incredible! I watched her do the same thing to a pint of Murphys in Cork. She can drink beer faster than I chug water, and I drink water fast!
She needs to enter a contest…..she never even drinks, I don’t understand how she is capable of that. I am thoroughly impressed.
About 10 minutes later I finished my pint. Here is how I truly feel about the taste of Guinness;
After the tours we went to get a real Irish meal! This was the first real meal we had in Ireland. The last few days had been spent living off the free hostel breakfasts, muesli I packed and a giant loaf of soda bread Elly and I bought at the English Market in cork.
This meal tasted real good!
I ordered Irish Stew and Elly got “Bangers and Mash”. The stew was supposed to be served on mash as well, but since they were out of “mash,” we had “chips” instead! If you ever go to Ireland, get the Irish Stew made with Guinness. Best Stew I have ever tasted.
We went back to the hostel after that and called it an early night. The final day in Dublin was filled with free museums! Saw the Museum of Natural History, an exhibit on Keats in the National Library, the National Gallery and the Chris Beatty Library. I will never forget Chris Beatty’s exhibit on ancient scriptures. There were old testament books from 150 AD!!! What an amazing thing to see!
Ireland was wonderful, but I definitely am going to need to go back one day. Still need to see the Cliffs of Moher, the Causeway and the Wicklow Mountains!