Yesterday was our last day in Dublin. It was a beautiful, sunny day, which most Dubliners we talked to were completely surprised and asked if we brought the sunny weather from the states.
On Tuesday after we got back from Enniskerry we visited the Irish Whiskey Museum. At times, it was a little kitschy, but our guide was very informative and gave us a lot of information on the history and political aspect of whiskey. It was a lot more interesting than the Jameson tour actually. At the end we tasted four varieties of whiskey and learned how the Irish drink it. No ice. A dash of water is the acceptable way to properly drink Irish whiskey.
Then we grabbed a pint of Guinness(duh), at The Quays Pub in Temple Bar, full of tourists, but close to where we were going to eat dinner.
After our pints, I eventually got a Bulmer's Irish Cider, we headed to check out Dublin's craft beer scene. If you know us at all, you know that we LOVE and are avid drinkers of craft beer. We went to The Porterhouse, a craft beer pub that brews their own beer. It is a chain over here and has three other locations and one in New York. But since craft beer is a relatively new thing in Ireland, we gave it a try.
The beers were pretty good. There were about three that we would have had a full pint of, but nothing really stood out. I guess we are just spoiled in America with our craftbeer.
One thing that has been hard getting used to is, that it doesn't get dark here until 9:30-9:45PM, which has been great! But we're so used to 8:00PM as our evening time.
On our way back to our hotel at about 10:00, we stopped at Murphy's Ice Cream, a famous Dublin spot where they let you try one or ALL the flavors as many times as you wish. After sampling a few, I decided on the Chocolate Sorbet and Kieran's Cookies. The girls working in the shop were lovely and gave us some tips on traveling to Belfast and what to see and do.
The next morning we woke up early, had breakfast at our hotel, which had a great all-inclusive breakfast, and tried to fill in as much more of Dublin as we could. Dublin really is a great city. Not too hard to get around in, the people are so helpful and chatty too.
Our last day took us straight to Trinity College to see The Book of Kells. No pictures were allowed in the exhibit, BUT that didn't stop many other foreign tourists from taking pictures and SELFIES...with selfie sticks...ugh. After the very anti-climactic Book of Kells(two turned pages and THRONGS of people), we headed to one of my favorite parts of our last day, the Old Library.
The room was built between 1712 and 1732. It is 214 feet long and houses over 200,000 of the college's oldest and rarest books.
Many of these books are so old, that a program was started in 2007 where someone can adopt a book to have it safely preserved. Special UV protection blinds have been installed over the windows and the roomies temperature controlled to help save the paper of the books.
We sat for a it and enjoyed the quiet and the smells of the old books and paper. Then we walked around Trinity College campus again and stumbled upon the birth place of Oscar Wilde.
Then we headed to St. Patrick's Cathedral, also known as the National Cathedral.
Saint Patrick's Cathedral was formed in 1192 by John Comyn who was the first Anglo-Norman Archbishop who wanted to open a teaching church. However it was King Henry III in 1227 who built a majority of the structure that exists today.
After finishing our exploration of the church, we popped around the corner to John Fallon's Pub, way off the beaten path of the Temple Bar area, which we enjoyed. Fallon's was established in 1780, the woman pouring pints told us. We even had a simple sandwich and our pints were 9euro total! Cheapest so far on our trip! The bar manager was very friendly as well and gave us lots of advice about Ireland travel and what to do in Belfast.
Next we headed to The National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts. The museum is housed in old army barracks that were named after Michael Collins, decorated officer and IRA member.
The museum was full of artifacts that were relavent to Irish history. It was also exhibiting the history of the Irish's involvement in wars all over the world and the effects of the British Army.
This museum had something for everyone, war artifacts, a couple huge tanks, which Matt loved, old war artillery, Irish silver, gowns of fine Irish women, and other artifacts.
As soon as we were finished, we used the Luas train and our handy Leap cards to head to the place Matt was looking forward to most in Dublin, the place that makes the drink that is just as popular as Irish whiskey, Guinness Storehouse.
The Guinness Storehouse tour was very exciting. It was five floors of Guinness history and memorabilia. It went through everything from the brewing process to the history of advertising. The tour was self-guided, making sure at the the end you got your complementary pint at the Gravity Bar at the end. However, before we booked our tour, I had been doing some research and discovered the very secret Connoisseur Tour.
Guinness doesn't like to advertise this tour, they like keeping it private, and if you somehow discover it, then lucky for you. The tour is a one and a half hour tasting of four of Guinness beers; stout on draft(which is synonymous with Guinness), the extra stout, a Foreign Extra Stout, and their Brewer's project, the Dublin Porter. Not only did we get samples of them, but we got a history lesson as well. We learned about why each one was brewed and just how different Guinness really is. It is not black in color, which so many think, but it is actually a ruby red color. All of this was done in a secret bar behind one of the big screen displays on the fourth floor. It even had a lock and push button access. I felt like James Bond.
After we learned how to taste beer, we were then showed how to pour the perfect pint. We were given a demonstration, which at the end I learned that a majority of people pour Guinness out of the tap completely wrong. And, the cutesy little hearts or shamrocks that sometimes are drawn in the foam or head, is a BIG no no. So, after our guide demonstrated, we were then offered our chance to pour. Ladies first.
There were only three other women in the private bar, and they weren't going. I wasn't going to be shy, so I hopped up and went to pour. I did great! I almost didn't make it to the top of the golden harp, but when I went to top it off, it was perfecto. It had the right amount of foam(head). But, before we could drink it, we had to let the pint settle. Another mistake people make when pouring. You have to wait to let the bubbles settle, that is what creates the head. Then, when it settles, you sip from under the foam, giving yourself a Guinness mustache.
We had a lot of fun at Guinness! Definitely recommend the private tour! Not that much more than the regular tour and you get so much more!
After our afternoon with Guinness, we headed to dinner at L.Mulligan Grocer. The pub used to be a neighborhood grocer in the 1900s, but since then has become an eatery and a craftbeer spot. It had so many craft beers from all over Ireland and the world.
Our dinners were relish! The best dinner so far in Ireland. The food was all locally sourced from farmers in the area and was a new take on Irish classics.
With our bellies full, we walked a couple blocks to catch the bus all the way back the the south part of the city to our hotel. It was a great way to end our time in Dublin. I was very sad it was our last day, and can definitely see us coming back and spending more time in Dublin. It as so much to offer and things to do. Everyone we met was wonderful and helpful and so proud to be Dubliners and Irish!
So far, we have not experienced the wet Irish weather, but we are here for another week and three days. I know we are bound to hit some. So, check back on the blog tomorrow to find out how Matt did with his first time driving on the left side, rental cars, and driving to Belfast!