T’was the final day of my short vacation. But nonetheless, it was an eventful one.
My brother, being in Med School, had many other commitments for the day and was unable to accompany me on touristic activities. Cut the guy some slack, I get it. Well, while he went in to write an exam at 8:30 in the morning, I slept in for an extra hour and eventually left for some exploration.
First stop was the lovely St. Patrick’s Cathedral. A beautiful place really. It had a lot of history. Now let’s get one thing straight, I’m not a history or religious buff so most the stuff I was reading was going in one eye out the other, but what I was interested in was the architecture. The St. Patricks Cathedral was actually one of the only buildings in Dublin that is of Gothic architecture (is that how they say it?). It had beautifully pointed arches (as per my post yesterday explaining the difference between Gothic and Romanesque architecture), the stained glass on the inside were heavily saturated and bright, the monuments on the inside were beautifully crafted out of marble, gold, and stone, and the cathedral even housed original pieces from the 1200’s when it was originally built. Some of these original pieces were the flags and the infamous door.
The flags, also referred to as The Colours represent the Irish men that fought in the British Army back in the 18th and 19th centuries. An estimated 30-40% of the British Army during those centuries were Irish men. Ever since that time, the rate of Irish men in the British Army has declined significantly. Eventually, entering the 20th century, the Irish regiments were disbanded from the British Army all together. To remember the Irish that died while serving the British, the flags of the regiment are hung within a church, St. Patricks Cathedral. They are hung and allowed to fade in the sunlight as a symbol of the Soldiers.
“Soldiers do not die, they simply fade away.”
The door. A symbol of unity. Back in 1492, two feuding families, the Butlers of Ormonde and the Fitzgeralds of Kildare, were at war. The two families entered the Cathedral and argued through the Chapter House Door. A member of the Fitzgerald family, Gerald Fitzgerald noticed that the feud between the two families was getting out of hand and offered a truce. The Butlers, sceptical of course, denied opening this door and allowing the Fitzgeralds in due to suspected trickery. So Fitzgerald stuck his arm through a hole in the door offering peace. The two families shook on it and the feuding stopped. The Butlers opened the door and their hearts to the former rivals. It is said that the saying “to chance your arm” comes from Fitzgerald giving his arm to the Butlers.
After 2 hours admiring the beauty of St. Patricks Cathedral, I walked a long half hour walk in the opposite direction of Dublin to get to the Guinness Storehouse. Now this is where the magic happens. The Guinness Storehouse is a giant warehouse dedicated to the story and spirit of Guinness. A story that started over 250 years ago and has another 8750 more years to go. I’m not joking. The Guinness Storehouse signed a 9,000 year lease. They’re not going anywhere for a long time.
Let’s begin with the actual building, shall we? Although it looks like a giant warehouse from the outside, on the inside, it houses many glass structures to resemble a pint. It is so accurately structured and to scale, that it is actually the record holder of being the largest pint in the world, capable of holding over 250,000L of Guinness.
The Guinness Storehouse is a go-at-your-own-pace self touring kind of gig. They give you a pamphlet, which is basically a map of the building, and send you along your way. The first floor gives you the history of Guinness. Who created it, how it’s made and brewed, the ingredients necessary for making the perfect lager, and so on. The second floor offers a taste testing class, in which one is able to learn just how to differentiate the different kinds of lagers. The third floor is dedicated to advertising. All the famous advertisements you have ever seen related to Guinness. Television ads, posters, mascots (the fish riding a bicycle is my personal favourite), the events, everything related to how Guinness got the word out of its best lager. The fourth floor was the Guinness Training Academy. This is where they teach you how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. Place the Guinness class at a 45 degree angle from the spout. Pour this way until the volume reaches the bottom of the Guinness Harp (assuming you’re using an official Guinness pint glass). Once the lager reaches the bottom of the harp, without stopping the stream of Guinness, slowly move the glass away from the 45 degree angle, placing it on the table under the spout. Continue to pour until the lager reaches halfway to the Harp, then stop. Wait exactly 192 seconds for the Guinness to settle (it literally looks like an espresso at this stage). Once it has settled, push the spout (depending the kind of spout you have) forward and top up the Guinness until it reaches the rim. Congratulations, you have just poured the perfect pint of Guinness. It is an art really. I even got a diploma. It’s the little things. The fifth floor contains bars and restaurants to order food and drinks at your leisure, and the sixth floor is the gravity bar. Built entirely out of glass, it is a piece of the Storehouse that allows you to overlook the entirety of Dublin. It is quite a sight.
After about three hours of touring the Guinness store house, my brother had notified me that he was almost done his classes. I walked back to the part of the city I was actually staying at and decided to explore the shopping district. You know how girls can be, does this really surprise you?
I eventually met up with my brother and his friends. We made our way to the school pub and had a pint.
The night ended with a bar crawl. We made our way from one bar, to another, to another, to another, to another until about 2 in the morning, drinking pints on pints on pints and cocktails on cocktails on cocktails. It was a typical night out for the Irish – and the students (young people really love to drink).
Eventually 2 am struck on the clock and this princess had to escape the Irish ball. After all, the next day I have a plane to catch home.