After a great night’s sleep, we were both ready to take on the World – but maybe NOT Dublin’s changing weather! Looking out of the window suggested that we were going to enjoy a blue sky, but 5 nano-seconds later, having emerged from the hotel looking for breakfast, we had the unique combo of: heavy rain, freezing temperature and a bright blue sky – weird!
Initially, we headed from the Heuston Station as we thought there are bound to be some good eateries there. Err, no! - so we then headed in the now familiar destination of Wuff, where we’d eaten yesterday.
After our hearty brekky, it was off to the Guinness Storehouse tour (tickets already booked by Ann online) – and to finish with a trip to the Gravity Bar and a free Guinness each! Dublin is famous for many things – its hospitality, its friendliness, but so far, it’s been c*** with signage for local attractions – and when a local stopped us and asked for directions to Guinness for her job interview, we knew we were in trouble! The confusing part of it all was that in trying to find the Storehouse, almost every big building round here had a Guinness sign on it, so it wasn’t easy to spot THE particular building we were aiming for. In the end, I did that very un-male like thing, and asked a local (Guinness Security Guard) for directions. Half a mile later, we had arrived!
We weren’t sure what to expect when we went through the gate – but we needn’t have worried, as once inside, it was all very high-tech, and just fantastic! It was very comprehensive too - A really well-done exhibition of the noble art of Guinness making …and some!; plenty about the history of the brand; the brewing process (with plenty of barley to pick up and err, put back); an exhibition of their TV advertising; their famous straplines; a live demo on how to pull the perfect pint, and all finishing up on the top floor with spectacular views across the city.
The Safe containing the Guinness Recipe (with the door left open!)
Water for Guinness
A Highly Computerised Operation!
Mine’s a Pint!
Mine’s another Pint!
Transportation Options for Guinness
The Famous Guinness Sculpture – about 20 feet high!
Toucans of Guinness???
A Rare Selfie!
Last Stop – The Gravity Bar
Mine’s yet another Pint!
pissed refreshed, we looked round the Guinness Shop and then took the short walk to Kilmainham Gaol. I say ‘short’, I really mean ‘long’, as due to the lack of signage (again!), we ended up walking for what seemed like a lot longer – not helped by the force 10 gale blowing in our faces.
Bleak House! aka Kilmainham Gaol
Wow! this was a bleak establishment (I guess, by design). Opened in 1790, in its early days, it boasted it was a new style of prison, one designed for reform. Windows without glass (designed to allow fresh air to circulate, and keep away diseases), and no lighting (apart from a personal candle) plus a regime that treated the ‘guests’ more like humans than animals, it hoped to bring about the necessary reform of the in-mates. Maybe not surprisingly, it failed in a spectacular fashion, in just a few short years. In the end, it became notorious for housing Ireland’s revolutionaries across the centuries. The cells were tiny… and tinier! The only way you got reasonable sized accommodation was if you had money to bribe the Guards, or you were a child (the youngest guest being just five years of age), or you were a condemned prisoner – not much choice then! It carried out public hangings as a matter of course, and for variety, used firing-squads – even on those who were terminally ill! This wasn’t a great time to be British!
Exterior Shots of the Gaol
Dark, Damp and definitely NOT a Premiere Inn!
One of the Larger Cells
A Plaque listing the Irish Revolutionaries shot by Firing-Squad in 1916
After the prison closed in the early 20s, the building deteriorated, but I suppose the only good thing to come from all of this is that 40 years later, in the 60s, a volunteer group raised sufficient funds to restore the place, so at least there is now a permanent reminder of how bad things had been. Ironically, in 1986, it was handed back to the State, and at the time of writing is going through another massive restoration programme.
It was a great tour, and the Guide was brimming with useful snippets from the Gaol’s history. It was good to get out though!
We didn’t fancy the walk back, and luckily for us, there was a Cab outside the Gaol. We headed back to the Hotel for a quick pit-stop before taking the Tram to our final destination for the day – The Porterhouse Temple Bar.
A friend had recommended it to us for its collection of beers, ales, lagers and stouts – and in most cases it didn’t disappoint, as we’d never seen so many different bottles on show as well as taps behind the Bar. I say ‘most cases’ as the one refreshment, we’d gone there specifically to try out – Wrassler’s XXXX – the world famous Irish Stout, was out of stock! Still, a glass of their Plain Porter hit the spot!
The Stout and stouter headed back to the Hotel, just as it began to chuck it down with rain again – there’s something special about Dublin rain, as it seems to be heavier and wetter than the Kettering variety - and then, two minutes later, it was brilliant sunshine, followed by a double rainbow.
A Rare Double Rainbow
The weather is all over the place again tomorrow, so no definite plans for Friday, yet!