If you haven’t read it yet, here’s part 1.
It was the day after our day-trip to Kilkenny, 4th of July and our 5-year anniversary. This night we were going to celebrate, but first we had a whole day to continue our exploration of Dublin.
We started off by hopping on the bus again, the bus took us to another famous «must-do» in Dublin; The Old Jameson Distillery. We are not whiskey fans but we joined a guided tour and we both loved it!
The Old Jameson Distillery is located on the original site of John Jameson’s distillery in Bow Street in Dublin. This distillery, founded in 1780 was Ireland’s most famous distillery for nearly 200 years, until its closure in 1971, when distilling of Jameson Irish Whiskey was transferred to the Midleton Distillery. For many years the Bow Street Distillery lay abandoned, but today, once again, it is a hub of activity, welcoming visitors from all over the world.
Each tour starts with a short audio visual presentation, detailing the history of Irish whiskey and specifically the passion that founder, John Jameson, had in establishing his distillery. The Old Jameson Distillery was recreated in 1997 to bring the old distillery and story back to life. Although no distilling actually takes place here, it is an excellent way to understand the how and why of whiskey. Every step of the distilling process has been recreated, from malting and storing barley, to mashing and fermentation, to distilling and maturation.
Our guide Matthew was very friendly and funny. The tour ended with a comparison whiskey tasting and a complimentary glass of Jameson or a Jameson Ginger & Lime cocktail (we loved this!). You can then enter your details on an iPad and request your very own personalized Jameson Whiskey Tasting certificate.
Before the tour (there was a bit of a line so we had to wait for 30min or so) we had lunch at a very good restaurant on site, the 3rd Still, which is popular not just with tourists, but also with locals. The menu is both diverse and contemporary, the atmosphere relaxed and friendly and it offers a bird’s eye view into the bustling lobby below.
It is open throughout the year, with guided tours at regular intervals throughout the day.
If we had to choose one; The Guinness Storehouse or The Old Jameson Distillery, we would recommend The Old Jameson Distillery, why? Because we felt that we got more (read; better experience) for our money here, the atmosphere was much more cosy and intimate, Matthew (our guide) showed us (a small group) around and explained the distilling processes in a light and fun way. He and he’s associates made us feel very welcome, and there was no rush to get us trough the tour.
We felt that The Guinness Storehouse was a bit more business angled, like «get the most amount of tourist trough the building as fast as possible». Now…., you don`t need to go with a guide here, you are on your own so of course you can take your time and enjoy the storehouse and its restaurants and bars with live music for a whole day drinking if you like, that is if you enjoy the odd pint of Guinness of course. There is no one actually rushing you, but I (Jon) are not to comfortable around crowds queuing through a seven-storey building, so maybe that`s the reason we felt a bit like «lets just power trough this and get out of here».
So, being that we are neither Guinness nor Jameson drinkers, we felt more at ease at Jameson`s place.
After lunch and tour at The Old Jameson Distillery we were again energized and took the bus back to the city centre and walked trough the narrow Dublin streets over to The Old Library at Trinity College.
The main chamber of the Old Library is the Long Room; at nearly 65 meters in length, it is filled with 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books and is one of the most impressive libraries in the world. This is also the room people associate with something out of a Harry Potter movie or Star Wars II.
The library hosts The Book of Kells, which is Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript. The 9th century book is a richly decorated copy of the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ. The exhibition is open 7 days a week and we recommend you to buy online Fast-Track tickets in advance. The queues can be very long at times due to popularity.
After visiting Trinity College we headed back to our hotel to relax for a bit and prepare for the evening dinner show at Arlington Hotel.
The Show is called Celtic Nights Dinner & Show and if they may say so themselves it`s «The best Irish show in Dublin». Since this is the only show we have seen in Dublin we cannot agree or disagree with this statement but we really enjoyed our selves!
It was a night to remember, we celebrated our 5-year anniversary with great food and drink to Irish dance rhythms, jaw-dropping footwork and legendary Irish songs. Celtic Nights runs 7 nights a week and offers the very best in Irish Cultural Entertainment. It includes championships dancers and All Ireland winning musicians showcasing the very best in Irish dance including the famous brush dance, “sean nos” (Old Style) and you will even have the opportunity to share the stage with the Irish dancers for a Céilí if you are brave enough. Amazing evening out!
The place was packed with locals and visitors even though this was on a Monday night. We recommend you to book a table in advance.
So there you have it, our little weekend getaway to Dublin and Ireland!