Guinness is good for you... in your wheelchair!


On a recent trip to Dublin Gerry and Chris Bullock paid a

visit to the city’s top attraction, The Guinness Storehouse.

On the 60 acre site at St James’s Gate, where the Guinness story started in Dublin way back in 1759, this superb structure (which was at the time, the largest multi-storey building constructed in 1904) was built to house the fermentation process and was known as the Market Street Storehouse and in use until it’s closure in 1988.

In 2000, following major work but still incorporating and showing the fantastic steel structure used in the original construction, it opened its doors as a tourist attraction, telling the story of this famous product and has been the most popular attraction in Dublin. 

Following our tour, we would put it on our list as a place not to miss, especially if you are a wheelchair user.

The building has seven floors, the original steel work of the building showing how well it was constructed and cleverly designed into the attraction. The core of the building is modelled on a giant pint glass and apparently they have worked out if a glass this size was built, it would hold 14.3 million pints of Guinness! There are lifts to all floors and access all around the exhibits was extremely good. All the staff we met were helpful and very knowledgeable about their product and the large retail store, where you can purchase all sorts of products bearing the famous insignia of Guinness, with plenty to choose from. Also on display is one the company’s most important documents, the 9000 year lease for this property which was purchased for the sum of £45 and it still has 8749 years to run (a very wise move indeed!).

We were shown how the four main ingredients, water, barley, hops and yeast, are prepared and told the secrets to their perfect pint. The water used here is piped from the Wicklow Mountains, as it has been for many years and when Dublin had major water problems a few years ago, due to frost, they came to Guinness for help, as their water had not frozen!

We saw the co-operage display where an excellent video was running showing the way in which these men, after seven years of training, cut and assembled casks (amazing work goes into something we just call a barrel). There is a good exhibition of the various methods of transport used, to move Guinness over the years, from horse and cart by road to boats by canal and the sea.

An area we may have memories of is the famous Guinness adverts, which have used many different animals and famous statements about the virtues of their product, many of which in the 21st century are now politically incorrect! Just a quickie: we learnt how the famous Toucan came to be used. At the time, “A Guinness is Good for you” was the slogan, and someone came up with “Imagine what two can do for you” (nowadays you would be over the legal limit!)

There is an exhibition on working life here at Guinness and how this company was ahead of its time because they really looked after their staff. Housing, pensions, (which were provided as early as 1860) free health care, a company doctor was on hand and cheap loans for homes were available. One of the best things was probably provision of two pints per employee per day, if they were over 21 (if you did not drink, you got vouchers).

During the visit, you are given the chance to “pull the perfect pint” and even get a certificate to say you managed it! Another high point of the visit, quite literally, was the Gravity Bar, which gives one of the best views over this famous city and then you can sit and enjoy “Dublin’s Fair City.

There is so much more to this famous Irish drink than we realised, so apart from coming away with our certificates and the knowledge that 10 million pints of Guinness are drunk everyday, worldwide, and 3 million are brewed here, we also learnt a great deal about what goes into making the brand as important as it is to this city.

Thanks go to Mark at Guinness PR, and to our guide, Peter, for organising and making our visit such a success. It was really easy with the wheelchair, so if you are visiting Dublin, do put this on your agenda. It is well worth your time.

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