Guinness Storehouse in Dublin: the ultimate guide to plan your visit
The Guinness Factory in Dublin (or Guinness Storehouse as it is also known) has been at the top of the list of most visited attractions in Ireland and the whole of Europe for years, also beating the Colosseum, La Sagrada Familia, and even the Eiffel Tower. The factory is, of course, a tourist destination but there are some things you should know if you decide to visit it and as a Dublin resident I’m going to give you some info. Remember that the Guinness Storehouse isn’t the Guinness factory but rather a museum dedicated to this drink, so don’t expect to find people there brewing, tasting and bottling: you can imagine it and see it on screens but not for real right in front of you.
GUINNESS STOREHOUSE DUBLIN: THE HISTORY
The Storehouse is located in an imposing structure dating back to 1759 which was the first home of the real factory producing the most famous stout in Ireland and the whole world and which also housed the apartments of those who lived and worked there. Arthur Guinness rented this space at St. James’s Gate in Dublin for 9,000 years at £45 a year. Today the area, in contrast to the rest of Dublin, has been transformed into a technological hub and hosts the Guinness Storehouse in the same building where in days gone by the beer was brewed.
USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT THE GUINNESS STOREHOUSE
Before moving on to a detailed description of what you’ll find in the factory, here is some useful information to help plan your trip. The Guinness Storehouse is open every day from 9.30am to 7 pm (last entrance at 5 pm), whereas in summer (July and August) it’s open until 8 pm with last entry at 6 pm. It’s closed on the 24th and 25th of December and on Good Friday. Children are permitted (but not to taste the beer only a non-alcoholic drink); the food served at the Gravity Bar isn’t served with food or non-alcoholic drinks.
Entry costs around 20 euros but if you buy online on the website you can find tickets with a 10% discount with regard to the dates and times chosen: usually, these prices aren’t available at the weekend and times of high tourist demand. Children under 10 enter free. With the Dublin Pass, entry is included.
HOW TO GET TO THE GUINNESS STOREHOUSE
The Storehouse isn’t in the center of Dublin but can be reached by various means of transport using St. James’s Gate as a reference. If you’re on foot, simply follow directions for Christchurch, then carry straight on asking passers-by if necessary. By bus, you can take the 123 which goes through the center and stops right at the Storehouse or the Luas taking the red line and getting off at St. James’s Hospital but this is still quite a distance away. Many people choose to go by taxi which from the city center costs a maximum of 13 euros and others choose the Hop On Hop Off bus which allows you to get off at every stop, including a stop at the Guinness Storehouse.
VISITING THE GUINNESS STOREHOUSE: ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED
The building where the Storehouse is situated is made up of 7 floors built around a pint of beer, which if full would contain 14.3 million pints. On entering the atrium the shape of the pint of Guinness jumps out at you and you don’t need a guide to explain that it was conceived as a pint of Guinness for marketing and also acoustic reasons. On each of the 7 floors, you learn something different, ending up on the last floor where you can sample a pint with a breathtaking view included in the price.
Below is how the seven floors are split up and they provide a complete experience of Guinness, albeit it a touristy and only relatively truthful one:
- 1st floor: ingredients
- 2nd floor: production
- 3rd floor: building the barrels
- 4th floor: ways of transporting beer through the centuries
- 5th floor: famous Guinness advertising
- 6th floor: the history of Guinness
- 7th floor: tasting in the Gravity Bar
The Gravity Bar
It goes without saying: the best thing about the Guinness Storehouse is the Gravity Bar, the bar on the seventh floor where you can taste what is considered the best Guinness in the world enjoying the surrounding view (did you know that it’s said that the nearer Guinness is drunk to where it was produced the better it is?). However, the problem with Gravity is that it’s always full and the windows are hijacked by tourists who can spend hours sprawled on the floor staring at the view.
During some of the year, the Storehouse closes later during the week and you can enjoy the sunset from Gravity but usually, doors close at 5 pm. The beer at Gravity is magical, the crowds less so but if you keep your cool you can enjoy the experience fully.
LEARNING TO PULL A GUINNESS AT THE STOREHOUSE
In the Storehouse, there’s an area dedicated to those who want to learn how to pull the perfect pint of Guinness and take home a certificate to prove it (which obviously isn’t worth anything but is a nice souvenir). The only downside to this experience is that this means you don’t get your drink in the Gravity Bar because the beer that you pull to “learn” is also the beer that you drink. You can still enter the Gravity Bar but you aren’t offered a Guinness. The Guinness Academy is on the fourth floor.
EATING IN THE GUINNESS STOREHOUSE
There is a restaurant in the Storehouse and also a small place where you can buy sandwiches and a few other things. In my opinion, it’s not worth wasting time eating here (and also spending more than in other places). The area around the Guinness Storehouse is still today one of the most authentic and less touristy, in fact, tourists only congregate within the Guinness complex. Not far away is Thomas Street where you can sit in one of the many pubs and enjoy a typical meal without spending a fortune.
THE STORE WITHIN THE GUINNESS STOREHOUSE
Inside the factory is the souvenir shop packed full of Guinness merchandise. Branded glasses, t-shirts, wacky caps, tourist trinkets and even beer and food; prices here are higher compared to other parts of the city which is justified by the fact that you are shopping in the most touristy area of Dublin and therefore will be prepared to pay more.
IS IT WORTH VISITING THE GUINNESS STOREHOUSE?
Yes, if you come to Dublin you can’t not visit the Guinness factory. Once is definitely enough, the second time is too much. The price isn’t low, in fact, this is one of the most expensive tourist attractions in Europe but as a tourist, you simply must come here at least once. You may decide it’s not for you and is too expensive but in my opinion, it certainly offers a great experience.
SOME EXTRA ADVICE
Obviously at the end of the week, from Thursday onwards, the Guinness Storehouse is overrun by tourists who sometimes come just for a mini break at the weekend. The queues are long and you risk not getting in and waiting a long time. I recommend buying tickets in advance both because you can find cheaper prices and avoid the queues and you’ll able to calmly plan your visit. And if you want a unique experience I also recommend you don’t buy the basic ticket but instead if you love beer and want to learn more about it you can try the Connoisseur option or a package that also lets you visit the Jameson whiskey distillery.
WHERE IS THE GUINNESS FACTORY TODAY?
Guinness is part of the Diageo group and the main factory is still in Dublin, next to the old one. You can’t visit the plant but it’s part of the Dublin skyline and is perfectly visible. Today Guinness is produced in 49 countries and sold in 150 and Diageo owns all the plants worldwide.
- At first, Guinness was simply called Porter, then Stout Porter until it became Guinness, named after its founder;
- Around 40% of Guinness produced is consumed in Africa.
- The Guinness that we consider “black” is in fact “dark red” and the color which settles on the bottom after pouring comes from the brewing of the malt.
- A pint of Guinness has 210 calories and it takes 119.5 seconds to pull the perfect pint…but that’s another story.
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Are you heading to Dublin or Ireland and do you want more information on customized tours but also on things to do, where to eat and drink and more? Write me an email or follow me on Instagram and Facebook and do not be afraid to ask for more information or a customized consultation! If you want to have photographic tips on what and where to go to take good pictures get in contact with Giuseppe, based in Ireland as well.
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