As a Booze Traveler Dublin is like my Mecca of travel. I have always wanted to go and experience the adventure. Even though I have no Irish heritage in my family Ireland has always called out to me as a bit of home. When I had the opportunity to be able to go out to Dublin, I wanted to go to Guinness and take the tour. When I arrived, there were two options for a tour. The standard self-guided tour through the factory or the Connoisseur Tour. I inquired at the ticket counter what the difference was between the two tours. The agent informed me that with the Connoisseur tour, they set you aside into a small group of 14 people maximum and had a personal guide. I decided to indulge and purchase that tour instead of the self-guided one.
As soon as you get your ticket, you are escorted to a waiting area for other guests of the tour to arrive. They only have a limited amount of space per block to do this tour.
The waiting area was very comfortable with leather chairs and couches and plenty of Guinness memorabilia all over the place to look at and enjoy. We had a few other folks show up for this tour and then our guide came in to introduce himself and take us to our own private bar in the Guinness factory. I was not necessarily expecting this, but as soon as I heard “private bar” I almost cried.
When we walked in, the bar was dimly lit with awesome accent lighting. It felt like I was in some old school steakhouse with no one else in there except me. We did have a few other folks in the tour group with us but it was way less than the maximum of 14. Our tour guide Stephen then explained the process of what would happen during the tour. He pointed to the half-pint glasses which were laid out in front of us and said that he would be going over some of the different ways Guinness brews beer, give us a little history behind each beer we were going to try, answer questions, and also have us pour our own pint (after a bit of teaching) behind the bar. During the entry process, we also got another ticket for either pouring our own pint or being able to get a Guinness from up in the Gravity Bar.
Stephen was amazing. He took the time to answer people’s questions about brewing, the beers we were able to try, some of the history about each beer and where Guinness ends up shipping beers around the world. He said that he was a chemistry major and had been working at Guinness for over 10 years. One of the little tidbits of information that he gave us is that Guinness has an experimental tasting house in Dublin (you need to make a reservation to go) to be able to try some of the more experimental beers that they are testing for the market. I did not have enough time in Dublin to be able to get to reserve a spot, however, the next time I go I will be making sure that I go and get a stool there!
After all of the tastings, we said goodbye to Stephen and were let loose around the factory. It was basically like getting to do the self-guided tour PLUS the private bar experience when buying this type of tour. It is quite the event. If you are going to be planning on doing this tour I would highly recommend setting aside the entire day!
After I wandered around the factory floor for a while seeing what I missed in the self-guided tour I decided to go up to the Gravity bar and check out the sights. The Gravity bar is one of the highest points in Dublin and it is surrounded by 360 degrees of glass windows so you can enjoy the view from any angle.
The Gravity bar was pretty crowded, however, the views overlooking Dublin were amazing. I would highly recommend going when the sun is setting to get an amazing view. As I had lost track of time and it was winter during my visit I caught it a bit too late.
Overall the Guinness Factory tour was amazing. I will be going back and doing the same tour over again when I get back to Dublin. I would recommend the Connoisseur Tour over the standard tour. For a bit of extra cash, it makes the experience completely different. Don’t forget to hit up the Guinness Store for some merchandise on the way out (I spent way too much money). If you are not in Ireland and would like to get items from the Guinness store (some of them are pretty unique). You can visit the online store here.