We left off last week with a late night pizza craving (LEAVING LONDON), but that was the only non-traditional meal we shared during our time in Dublin. We'd been dreaming of Shepherd's Pie, Irish Coffee, and Guinness for months...and our two short days in Ireland did not disappoint!
The main item on the agenda our first day (Day 6 if you're keeping track) was a tour of Jameson. We woke up and had some time to spare so we wandered from our hotel in Christ Church, over the River Liffey, and into the Jervis Shopping Centre area. We found a seat in the upstairs bar area of The Boar's Head and immediately ordered Shepherd's Pie and Smithwicks Blonde. Unlike the semi-bland fish and chips we ate in London, this Irish staple was exploding with flavor. The bartender was so kind and informative. We ended up being the only table in the bar after a bit and he spent time telling us about the popularity and rules of Irish football and pointed out a few historic landmarks within walking distance. We wandered through the shops, admired The Spire of Dublin, and put our fingers in the bullet holes at the General Post Office. The Post Office served as a headquarters for uprising leaders during the Eater Rising of 1916.
We booked tickets for many of our tours and excursions pretty far in advance. For a few items like the Jameson and Guinness tour, it meant Allie would miss out on a few key tastings after we found out she was pregnant. She definitely took one for the team and willingly participated in the tours and other fun parts at the distillery/brewery and I took one for the team by drinking her samples. No actual brewing takes place at the Jameson Distillery (should be called a museum) so the tour was a bit touristy and overly scripted, but we did enjoy seeing and smelling the ingredients that go into their whiskey. We also learned about the "angel's share" (portion that evaporates during ageing) and the differences between Scottish, American, and Irish whiskey. I enjoyed the tastings and complimentary drinks in their lounge....and then Allie walked me back to the hotel for a nap. We finished off the day with desserts at Queen of Tarts which was a few doors down from our hotel. The chocolate chip cookie and chocolate walnut cake were tasty, but still no comparison to our local favorite Cafe Caturra in Modlo. The global search for best cookie continues!
Our final day in Dublin (Day 7) started off with breakfast at the hotel. We skipped the traditional Irish Breakfast and went with a standard toast, eggs, sausage type fare. The thought of beans, black pudding, and other things we couldn't pronounce made Allie's stomach turn and I gladly agreed to something more mild. Now full, we walked the streets of Dublin towards the Guinness Brewery. We passed churches, quaint neighborhoods, and some great looking pubs before finally arriving at a place we'd been looking forward to for a long time. We entered a massive Dickensian looking warehouse and headed down into a dark basement. We punched our tickets and took the elevator to the main floor. It opened into a massive multi-story tower of a building which come to find out is the shape of a pint glass!! If filled it would hold 3x more pints than the population of Ireland!!
On the tour we saw:
1.) The original lease signed by Arthur Guinness in 1759. He got quite the deal with a rate of £45 per year for 9,000 years! It sits in an enclosed bubble smack dab in the center of the building.
2.) A totally white room with sci-fi looking consoles spewing steam. Turns out each console emits the scent of a specific ingredient in the beer so there was one for yeast, barley, hops, and water. So interesting to smell each piece broken down!
3.) The Perfect Pour- This six step process is quite detailed with the proper angle of the glass, direction of the tap pull, etc. After completing the five minute class you receive a certification and can then drink your own perfectly poured pint!
4.) A tour through the history of Guinness advertising. I've always loved the classic Guinness posters and art so it was cool to see original drawings and the stories behind the campaigns. Very interesting to see how the artwork changes, but the message always stays the same.
5.) Finally we drank a pint (mine was Guinness and Allie's was Diet Coke) at the top of the tower with a 360 degree view of Dublin. Placards pointed out all the major landmarks and the view was stunning.
In the afternoon we walked over to the Dublin zoo which featured a large safari exhibit. There were running giraffes, elephants, and a herd of dueling rhino's. We also watched a silverback gorilla groom himself from a few feet away (behind plexiglass of course) while baby gorillas ran and played in the background. There were lions, tigers, but no bears unfortunately.
We finished off the day in classic UK style- in a pub, with Guinness in hand, watching Premier League football (soccer). My favorite BPL team is Liverpool and that day they were playing Man Utd. What an epic game! It was so fun to watch with European fans who's passion for the game parallels Auburn mania in our household.
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a small ice cream parlor for a nightcap. Allie had been desperately craving ice cream for a few days and I didn't want to leave Ireland without partaking in Irish coffee. Murphy's Ice Cream came through big time. Allie had strawberry sorbet and I had a butterscotch/Irish coffee combo in a waffle cone. Perfection!
We reluctantly boarded a plane the next morning, made a quick stop to switch planes in Iceland (spent close to $40 on airport lunch on accident!) then landed in Baltimore around 7:30 PM. We sped home to wish our parents a happy Grandparents Day (check out our family's reactions HERE) and soon passed out in our own bed. Nothing is better, but it made getting up for work the next day even harder!
Thanks for reading our STROUSE HOUSE ADVENTURES!! On to a new adventure!
Missed any of our Strouse House Adventures in Europe? Read them here!
Let the Adventure Begin | Strouse House Adventures: Europe
Greenland is Ice. Iceland is Nice. | Strouse House Adventures: Iceland
Welcome to London | Strouse House Adventures: London
Taking a Stroll Down Memory Land | Strouse House Adventures: London
Football and Famous Mummies | Strouse House Adventures: London
Leaving London | Strouse House Adventures: London
Falling in Love with Dublin | Strouse House Adventures: Dublin
Keep up with our other adventures here in our STROUSE HOUSE ADVENTURES!