Saturday, 23 May 2009

Dublin and Guinness

Just back from Dublin. My first time. You still see signs of the confidence born from what was, until very recently, one of the world's fastest growing economies. This is the Dublin Spire, 390 ft high, locals call it the 'Stiffy on the Liffey'.

But visually Dublin is most like a miniature London. Lots of Georgian and Regency architecture. There's even a mini Thames, House of Lords and..... 

Another thing about Dublin was the sense of being watched... and it didn't take long to finger the culprit..... 

You're never more than an arms length from a pint of Guinness. Look in any direction and you'll see a sign for it. 
Now I've never got the Guinness thing. It's not as strong as hating it, I just wouldn't choose something that thick when it's a drink I'm after. But so many people insist it's nicer in Dublin, and, the bombardment from such an intense advertising campaign makes it impossible to ignore. Could a drink really taste that different?

Well, this one slipped down a treat. Mmmm. Made a bit of an effort to think about the taste of the next one. It was creamy, complex, fresh and incredibly, actually thirst quenching. Surely though, I'd been intoxicated by the charm of the place and it's people.... I wanted to like their drink, be part of them, join in. Could this taste so good back in dank old Glasgow? Had I been missing out all these years? I would have to find out. Before that though, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse.

Claimed as the most popular tourist attraction in Ireland. It's where they used to brew the stuff. It's still brewed on site.... a site the size of a suburb. Three million pints a day. 

It's impressive. Apparently this year they've been getting loads of Italian tourists for the first time, no-one knows why. I wonder if they've asked them?

Seven floors up visitors enjoy a complimentary pint of the black stuff. No mean treat, this is a place where the price regularly tops 5 euros a pint. Ouch. They get to look out over a city dominated, and as far as most tourists are concerned, defined by it's brewery.

Dublin's a lovely place, but expensive, may have to wait till we join the euro before returning. 

A late flight back to Glasgow had me pelting to Stravaigin to try a Guinness here while the taste of the Dublin one was still fresh in my mind. The barman was Irish, so was the waitress speaking to him.... weird, am I still being watched? As he poured I explained what I was up to. He looked at me like I was speaking gibberish then said, "I never drink it over here", and added, "Next time, forget about Dublin, go to Ireland".

The Guinness tasted neither as fresh nor as complex. Far more of a bitter flavour and not very thirst quenching. But I'd have been disappointed if it was any other way!

St James's Gate
Dublin 8
+353 1 408 4800

Gibson Street
0141 334 2665

1 comment:

  1. I believe it's also called The Stiletto in the Ghetto.........need to give you your very good cocktail shaker back!!!