In February we hopped across to Ireland for a long weekend to experience some Irish food, sexy accents, folk music, and country air.
One item on our to-do list was the Guinness Storehouse. We’d heard that it was the number one rated tourist attraction in Ireland!
The building itself is huge, and really dominates Dublin’s skyline. The visitor centre is housed in a seven story building in the shape of a Guinness pint glass.
The self guided tour through the building was quite fun. It was very interactive and walked you through every step of the beer brewing process from growing the hops all the way through to the boats used for transportation of the finished brew.
There was plenty of Guinness memorabilia to purchase, and you could even get a “stoutie” with your face printed onto the head of a pint of Guinness.
Jase enjoyed learning how to pour the perfect pint. He even received a gift certificate proving his new life skill!
Throughout the self-guided tour, we felt like we were subjected to a lot of advertising and Guinness propaganda. It was tiring being bombarded with Guinness facts, Guinness advertising, Guinness tastings, and everything else Guinness for a few hours and it was a relief when we no longer had to hear about Guinness!
Kimmie managed to book us tickets for a Kilmainham Gaol tour. The gaol has an important place in the history of Ireland, and many Irish revolutionaries, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, were imprisoned and executed there.
The tour was really interesting and we were glad to have had the opportunity to learn more about Irish history. As with many gaols, we soon came to the conclusion that it was a place where you wouldn’t have wanted to have been locked up. The huge stone walls were deathly cold, and it was very grim. Kimmie also was intrigued to see a panopticon design in person.
Folk music and fairy tales
We went along to an evening of Irish folk music and fairy tales. The evening was a bit of fun and we learned about the importance of the potato and the severe impact of the potato famine, heard some traditional Irish music, and were told several fairy tale stories. Always good to know to keep an eye out for the pooka.
Wicklow and Kilkenny
We didn’t just want to see urban Ireland (Dublin), and were keen to experience the countryside. On a bit of a whim, we booked ourselves onto a tour that visited the Wicklow mountains and Kilkenny.
It was misty, making the Wicklow mountains very scenic and atmospheric. Almost spooky. The round tower and cemetery were very beautiful in the misty rain. We figured that this was a very common weather pattern here!
We were told that monks had been practicing religion here for thousands of years. The tower helped in locating the site; helpful for both friend and foe!
As a part of our guided tour we were supposed to stop off at a scenic lookout point, however it was so foggy that we couldn’t see further than 5 metres ahead of us!
Our last stop was Kilkenny, once the capital of Ireland. Kilkenny has some beautiful old churches and a nice castle. It is also known for its witchcraft trials. While we were there we had a delicious pub lunch at a place called Left Bank – highly recommended! We also had some spare time and visited a quirky little bar called the Hole in the Wall, definitely an experience.
The best Irish coffee
We cannot finish this blog post without mentioning Irish coffee, a coffee with cream and Irish whiskey.
We sampled a couple of different Irish coffees while we were in Ireland, but the award definitely goes to the Irish coffee served at Wigwam in Dublin (don’t just take it from us, they also won best coffee in Dublin!). It had a delicious hint of orange mixed with cream and delicious espresso. Jase still dreams about this drink to this day.
Overall, we had a great time in Ireland, and for winter the weather was sunny and amazing. Kimmie even became worried about the possibility of getting sunburnt!
Jase and Kimmie