What happens when you visit the largest pint glass in the world?
First, you’ll wind your way to the top, learning all that goes into the perfect pint of the Black Stuff. Then at the top, you’ll finally taste that iconic Irish dry stout while taking in bird’s-eye views of the city below. Of course, you’re at the Guinness Storehouse® at St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, Ireland.
As the Home of Guinness, the historic St. James’s Gate Brewery is where 3 million pints of Guinness are brewed each day. Inside the Guinness Storehouse, your journey takes you through this iconic brand’s 250+ years of history, its quirky advertising campaigns, and what exactly goes into each pint. Not only do visitors get an insider’s peek into the whole brewing process, you’ll also taste the finished product.
This year, the Guinness Storehouse will welcome more than 20 million international visitors since opening in 2000. With 1.7 million visitors in 2018, the Home of Guinness ranks as Ireland’s No. 1 international visitor attraction. It even beats the Cliffs of Moher!
Normally, I recommend brewery tours to beer enthusiasts but not necessarily to other visitors of a destination. In a city of Dublin’s size, there is no shortage of museums, attractions, and other culinary experiences. Yet, in the case of the Guinness Storehouse, I find this brewery tour is a must-do experience for visitors of legal drinking age — 18 and older — when visiting Ireland.
Why do I recommend visiting the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin?
Clearly, I’m not the only traveler in recent years to add the Guinness Storehouse to my Ireland trip itinerary! But, why do so many visitors go to the Guinness Storehouse each year?
And, do all of those visitors really like to drink dry stout?
Whether or not you like the unique taste of Guinness, you really can’t deny the brewery’s significance. When I think of Ireland, the first few thoughts to spring to mind are of St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, green landscape dotted with sheep, Irish whiskey, and Guinness. How many beers in the world do you associate so closely with their country of origin?
For me, that association isn’t simply because Guinness is brewed in Ireland. Nor is it because almost one out of every two pints consumed in Ireland every day are Guinness. It’s because Guinness plays a significant role in Ireland’s modern history, economy, culture, and cuisine.
Essentially, the heart and soul of Ireland is poured into every pint of Guinness.
What else goes into a pint of Guinness?
As you’ll quickly learn, Guinness is made from only four all-natural ingredients — water, malted and roasted barley, hops, and yeast. In the first exhibit you’ll encounter at the Guinness Storehouse, you’ll hear the roar of water sourced from the nearby Wicklow Mountains and smell the aroma of hops that give a pint of Guinness its unique flavor.
At the heart of Guinness is the legacy of a brewer with vision.
The exhibit’s caption toasting founder Arthur Guinness says it all. Did you know he signed a 9,000-year lease on Dec. 31, 1759, for St. James’s Gate Brewery? He also opened a medical center, had homes built for his employees, and was known to have great respect for the craft of brewing. His legacy surely is the magical fifth ingredient in every pint of Guinness. Cheers to you, Arthur!
Isn’t it a lovely day for a Guinness?
One of my favorite exhibits at the Guinness Storehouse was on its advertising. Guinness has always seemed like a brand with a playful sense of humor. You’ll see that silliness on display with the whistling oyster and — my personal favorite — a fish riding a bicycle near the feminist saying, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
Most importantly, your visit includes a drink voucher.
After all that learning, you’ve earned a drink! Luckily, your visit culminates in tasting the freshest pint you’ll likely ever have of Guinness — brewed right there at St. James’s Gate. And, if you still aren’t sold on sipping the Black Stuff, The Gravity Bar pours one or two other kinds of Guinness beers.
The Gravity Bar is definitely the highlight of visiting the Guinness Storehouse. Sitting 46 meters (about 150 feet) above Dublin, it is the highest bar in the city. With panoramic views, you’ll see out to the Wicklow Mountains on a clear day.
Later this year, the Guinness Storehouse is set to unveil its €16 million expansion to double The Gravity Bar’s space. Once open, it can accommodate 500 stout-drinking visitors!
What To Know Before You Go
- Location: St James’s Gate, Dublin 8, Ireland
- Parking: Free parking on Crane Street on a first-come, first-served basis
- Hours: Open 7 days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. with last entry at 5 p.m. most of the year. Extended hours in July and August run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with 6 p.m. last entry. Closed December 24-26.
- How much time do you need? About two hours for the self-guided tour and to drink a pint. Plan to stay longer if you eat here.
- On-site Dining: Yes. You’ll find food and more drinks at Arthur’s Bar, Brewers’ Dining Hall, and 1837 Bar & Brasserie.
- Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
- Admission: €18.50 adults, €18.50 students (18+) with student ID, €18.50 senior citizens (65+), €16 children 13-17, free for children 13 and younger Ticket prices as of March 2019. Prices are subject to change. Please, check the Guinness Storehouse website for updated pricing.
- How do you book tickets? To skip the lines when you arrive, order your tickets online. You will receive a confirmation in your email with a reference number. Then you’ll just show that number at the information desk upon arrival. You also get a discount on adult tickets for booking online!
Where to stay near the Guinness Storehouse
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- Ashling Hotel — Only a little over a half mile (1.1 km) from the Guinness Storehouse, this four-star boutique hotel is centrally located to public transportation and several Dublin attractions. The Ashling Hotel offers 226 stylish rooms, including family rooms with varying bed sizes for adults and children, luxury suites, and accessible rooms. Rated 4.5 out of 5 by more than 5,400 TripAdvisor users, it ranks as the No. 1 Best Value hotel near the Guinness Storehouse. Click here now to check availability for your travel dates!
- Harding Hotel — Centrally located to Dublin attractions, this three-star hotel offering single rooms is a more budget-friendly option for solo travelers. Rated 4.5 on TripAdvisor, Harding Hotel has accessible rooms, an on-site restaurant and bar, and is a short walk to Temple Bar. Plus, you are only a 20-minute walk from the Guinness Storehouse. Check availability or book your room now!
- Hilton Dublin Kilmainham — Where I stayed when I went to the Guinness Storehouse, this four-star Hilton hotel is across the street from the Kilmainham Gaol and about 1.25 miles (2 km) from the Guinness Storehouse. As a Hilton Honors member, I was able to stay here using points earned from my Hilton credit card and past hotel stays. Upon check in, I was upgraded to a room with a balcony overlooking Dublin. It’s also rated 4.5 by other travelers on TripAdvisor, and you can read more reviews or book your stay!
- Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin — Located less than a mile (1.8 km) from the Guinness Storehouse, this four-star hotel is less than a 15-minute walk from Trinity College, Dublin Castle, and St. Stephen’s Green. Rated 4.5 on TripAdvisor, it is the No. 17 best Dublin hotel on TripAdvisor and No. 2 Best Value hotel near the Guinness Storehouse. To learn more about the hotel from travelers who have stayed there, check out the hotel’s Booking.com listing!
- InterContinental Dublin — This elegant five-star IHG hotel is located in the Ballsbridge area, about 3.5 miles (5.7 km) from the Guinness Storehouse. Rated 4.5 by TripAdvisor travelers, it ranks as No. 15 out of 154 Dublin hotels on TripAdvisor. If you seek a tranquil luxury hotel with park views, book your stay now!
When traveling in Dublin, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse is a must-have experience. Even if you are not a stout — or even a beer — drinker, I recommend the Guinness Storehouse for its interactive approach to sharing the beer brewing process. Of course, if you enjoy a proper pint, a visit here is a no-brainer!
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