Dublin can be heaven - and here's the cream
This week Gillian Nevin visits The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and recalls a little of Dublin in the rare ould' times
WHEN I was eight years old, my father bought a pub in town. As a young girl, my calling in life was to be a teacher by day and a singer and dancer by night, an unusual combination which I believed was totally feasible.
As my father's pub had a music lounge upstairs, I was secretly delighted. This would surely secure my pathway to stardom.
Unfortunately, he sold this Capel Street boozer two years later, and my ambitions were quashed. It did however mean that I was a dab hand at pouring a pint of Guinness which I used to ring up on the till at a sizable 88 pence.
Now if one is looking for a perfect pint of the black stuff, where else is better to enjoy it than the Guinness Storehouse.
The Guinness Storehouse is Ireland's number one tourist attraction and boasts an historical and impressive architectural design. This ?38m visitor experience brings to life the world famous brand of Guinness and stretches its story over seven floors.
Each floor is designed around a central glass atrium which mirrors the shape of a pint of Guinness. It is over 32 metres high and could hold 14.3m pints - roughly the same amount of Guinness which is enjoyed on a daily basis around the world. I have no doubt that most of this is consumed on our home shores.
Located in the St James Gate Brewery in Dublin 8, this building is the epitome of purposeful industrial architecture from the outside. It was originally erected in 1902 as a fermentation house and was a fully operational plant.
It was an innovative building of its time in that it was built from the inside out and made up of multi-storey steel frames. It was the work of Richardson, Bauman and le Baron who were known as the Chicago School, and it featured giant rounded granite bay windows as a decorative feature.
The exterior walls were made using yellow and red stock bricks from Kildare, and the columns were made up of Ballyknockan Granite from Wicklow.
In the 1980s new brewing processes meant that this Storehouse was no longer needed, and fermentation was completely transferred to a new plant near the Liffey.
By 1997 visitor numbers to the Brewery were growing, and the board decided that they would reinvent the Storehouse to be the home, heart and soul of Guinness.
The transformation was given the name 'Project Jupiter', and the race was on to open during the millennium year. In November 2000 this listed building was reopened and given a new life.
Visitors to the Guinness Storehouse can journey through the past, present and future of this worldwide super brand, as they climb up each floor.
There are a number of original brewing pieces on display such as the copper pipes which cooled the wort, cast iron skimmers and giant tuns made out of New Zealand Kauri Pine.
The advertising floor shows both the old and current marketing tactics, such as the Pelican, the sea horses advert and the 'Guinness Is Good For You' slogan.
The Guinness Storehouse also offers an unusual venue for meetings, conferences and events of all different sizes. There are four main meeting rooms with five syndicate rooms and Wireless Internet Access is a recent addition.
The jewel in the crown of the storehouse is however the Gravity Bar. This is located above the roof in the head of the pint of Guinness.
It is Dublin's highest bar and offers 360 degree panoramic views across the city and its hinterland, from the Phoenix Park down the Liffey, in to the dock of the bay and out to the Wicklow Mountains.
It is simple yet contemporary in its interior design and one can enjoy a complementary pint of Guinness whilst admiring the spectacular views. The perfect way to round off an exciting visit.
For more information, log on to www.Guinness-storehouse.com