Located around 15 minutes walk from the city centre the Guinness Storehouse is one of those attractions that seems to define a visit to a particular city - almost every first-time tourist to Dublin is going to end up here at some point.
The Storehouse is part museum and part tribute to the legendary black-stuff, arguably Ireland's most iconic export.
Opened in November 2000, the Storehouse has rapidly become Ireland's number one visitor attraction. The museum building was originally constructed in 1904 to house the Guinness fermentation process.
For anyone interested in architecture much of the original building fabric remains and it offers an intriguing opportunity to get a close look at construction in the early 20th century. Its massive steel-frame structure supporting the external facade is reminiscent of the skyscrapers of that era.
In the present day, the refurbished building focuses the museum on a central atrium that rises in the shape of a giant pint glass from the ground floor up to the Gravity Bar at the top.
The museum itself is distributed across seven floors with exhibits ranging from the science behind the brewing process, the life and history of founder Arthur Guinness, through to the legendary advertising campaigns that have become such a recognizable part of popular-culture.
As you can imagine no opportunity to squeeze a little more profit from the brand is left untapped and as such, there is a massive retail store on the ground floor stocking all manner of Guinness themed souvenirs. Interestingly the museum chooses to include an interactive exhibit devoted to examining your own drinking habits in order to encourage responsible drinking, a concession to the anti-drink lobby perhaps but thought-provoking all the same.
With this range of exhibits it is difficult not to come away from the Storehouse stimulated and enriched in some way, and if all else has failed the complimentary pint of the famous drink available in the Gravity Bar with its stunning panoramic views over the city should do the trick.
However it certainly need to be emphasized that this museum is not only for beer-enthusiasts. Guinness has become such an iconic brand that it is safe to say it transcends categorization.
Whatever your particular angle of interest, be it history, architecture, branding and advertising or maybe just good beer, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse could not come any more highly recommended. It is also could be worth taking a look at the museum's official website to see if your visit to Dublin coincides with any of the special events held at the Storehouse.
2009 for example sees celebrations to mark the 250th anniversary of Guinness and of course there always seems to be some kind of special party around March 17th.
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