Dublin Drinks

“Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then its time to drink.” I enjoy myself a glass/bottle of whiskey. Ireland is a great place to experience both whiskey and beer. Dublin is a place that prides itself not only on their ability to drink, but also on how alcohol is central to their heritage, social, and economic pillars.

Though Whiskey is my preferred drink, I will start by discussing Guinness. I’m not a beer drinker overall. However, if I do drink beer, I do prefer a stout – specifically Guinness. When you arrive in Dublin, you are overtaken by the brand of Guinness. They truly pride themselves on Guinness and how the company themselves essentially financed much of Dublin since their inception. That said, I learned a lot. I had planned to go to the Guinness Storehouse before vising Dublin. Originally this was due to the fact that it was something that you are supposed to do as a tourist. However, after visiting St Peters Green, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle my interest morphed from tourist checklist to more genuine interest on what Guinness was all about.

These other attractions demonstrated a different perspective on a company that has made money off the vices of others. They demonstrated the truly philanthropic history of Guinness which impressed me quite a bit. The Guinness family has provided thousands of jobs not only in their company, but supporting industry. It can be argued that this alone is enough. However. Guinness has a long history in city investment, including the creation and donation of Dublin parks and the restoration of St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Though they touch on this slightly in the Guinness storehouse tour, it is not the focal point, which is refreshing. Though I have an increased appreciation for Guinness and their history, their tour was quite disappointing. I have been to a few brewery tours in the US, both small and large. They were all personal, with dedicated tour guides and detailed explanations. The Guinness Storehouse tour was like watching a high-tech documentary on the History channel. However, there were a few good points that are lacking in other brewery tours. They provided interactive exhibits that show you how to pour a proper Guinness, as well as explanation of how to best smell and drink a Guinness. Though their brewing demonstration was not that great, I think their tour was more useful to the normal everyday person. They may not show you all the details of how to brew a beer, but come on – its not like you are going to go start your own brewery. What they do demonstrate is how to appreciate your beer, which speaks volumes on the pride they have in their product.

Okay, enough of the beer. Lets spend a short bit of time on Whiskey. Though Dublin is a great place to experience whiskey, its also a ridiculously expensive place to experience whiskey. It boggles my mind how a bottle of Jameson, Bushmills, Redbreast, etc in Ireland can cost so much more than in the UK or US. This actually bothers me quite a bit. It gies you the impression that they are trying to capitalize on the tourist industry just that much more. Everyone will by a Jameson in Dublin, why do you need to gouge them for 5 more Euro a bottle? Shame on you Jameson. That said, I still drank Whiskey while here. ☹ I cant be stopped simply by higher prices, though Bri may not be too happy about that. In protest, I did buy a cheaper though arguably equivalent bottle of Bushmills. This bottle was my warm up each night so I didn’t spend ridiculous amounts at local pubs. The local pubs though add so much to the experience though. It is easy to capitalize on the tourist industry in Dublin. Open a bar, paint it green or red, and add some live and/or traditional music and you got all you need to be successful.

I went to two pubs, The Auld Dubliner and the Norseman. Both of these pubs were really enjoyable. Yes, they were painted red/green, they had live music, etc. However, the most attractive point of both is that they were not ass to nuts busy. You could walk in, not be overcrowded and actually find a seat and enjoy the live music. The Dubliner had a very relaxed atmosphere to where you can hear the person next to you but had a limited whiskey selection. The staff was nice and attentive, provided a very hospitable and relaxed environment. The Norseman was much busier though this might have been due to being there on a Friday night versus Thursday night. I preferred the environment of the Dubliner, but the Whiskey selection in the Norseman where rare Taliskerr and Middleton offerings were on the menu.

Before moving on to my Redbreast and Talisker servings, The Norseman offered a Jameson Tasting Tray for a reasonable price. They offered 3 25Ml glasses filled with Jameson 12 Year, Reserve, and Gold. Limited to Jameson, it would be great if a pub offered tastings well beyond that of just the most well known brand of Whiskey in the world. Perhaps when we trek to Scotland, we may have better luck for variety and price.

Overall it seems that Dublin is more about making money off of their whiskey industry than appreciating it like Guinness appreciates its beer.