Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold onto one blade of grass and not fall off the face of the earth.’ - Irish proverb

A trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Guinness Factory. The stout is, after-all, synonymous with Ireland.

The Guinness Storehouse, in St. James’s Gate Brewery, is Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction. It was also named Europe's leading tourist attraction by the World Travel Awards in 2015. Since opening in 2000, it has received over 13 million visitors.

The site has been home to the Guinness Brewery since 31 December 1759, when Arthur Guinness signed a lease for 9,000 years. The operation has since expanded down to the Liffey and across both sides of the street. At one point the brewery even had its own railway and there was a giant gate stretching across St James's St, hence the name, St James’s Gate Brewery. 

Guinness is now one of the most successful beer brands, over 10 million glasses are sold every day around the world. Due to it’s popularity, the brewery created the Storehouse, a seven storey experience dedicated to “the black stuff”. 

Here you discover what goes into the making of a pint of Guinness and learn about the incredible history of the brewery. From production, ingredients and the craft of brewing to transportation and distribution. My personal favourite was a floor dedicated to the history of the brand’s famous advertising campaigns. Tick followed tock….

The seven floors are built around a glass atrium shaped as a giant pint, the world’s largest pint glass. At the base of the atrium lies a copy of the 9,000 year lease signed by Arthur Guinness. 

The ground floor also introduces the stout’s four ingredients (water, barley, hops and yeast). A portion of the barley is roasted to give Guinness its distinctive dark colour and characteristic taste. Although Guinness appears to be black, it is actually a very dark shade of ruby.

After making a wish, we continued our tour of the Tasting Rooms and The Guinness Academy, where we learnt how to pour the perfect pint. Guinness should take 119.5 seconds to pour and should be at a 45 degree angle.

At the top of the atrium is the world-famous rooftop Gravity Bar, the ‘Head of the Pint”, which has 360 degree views across Dublin. Unfortunately I was unable to enjoy a pint myself as the production process means it’s not suitable for vegetarians. Apparently the brewery are planning to alter the production slightly within the next couple of years to make it veggie friendly. Still, the views in the Gravity Bar made our visit worthwhile and my friend was more than happy to drink my pint for me.

Once we’d finished our tour we found this lovely chap waiting outside to give us a tour of the city before dropping us at Temple Bar, where we enjoyed some more of Dublin’s finest beverages. 

If you're planning a trip to Dublin make sure you check out the Guinness Storehouse for yourself. I'd suggest purchasing your tickets in advance via the website to avoid any queues.


Vintage Tea Tour, Dublin

“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” - Peter Pan

Thanks to Vintage Tea Tours in Dublin, you can now enjoy both. The sightseeing tour combines a traditional afternoon tea with taking in some of the city’s best-known sights while onboard a vintage double-decker bus.

I was invited along by Karen Nixon, who recently launched the venture having been inspired by a similar afternoon tea tour in London. She purchased a vintage 1961 Routemaster bus and Vintage Tea Tours was born.

The bus was previously owned by artist David Shepherd who used it as a studio. Karen has completely refurbished the bus, giving it a vintage theme, and named it Pauline after her beloved Gran. Karen says of her grandmother, “Her kitchen was always full of fun, love and honesty where the problems of the day evaporated into laughter over tea and cake. It was the most special place in the world!”

The route takes passengers on an adventure through the city taking in Phoenix Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church, Wood Quay, O’Connell Street, Trinity College, Georgian Dublin, St. Stephens Green and many more.

Traditional finger sandwiches, scones and a selection of cakes are served, made by Italian Chef Donato Romano, along with plenty of tea or coffee. The food is served on vintage china plates and cake stands while the hot drinks are served in sealed cups to ensure no spillage when driving along Dublin’s cobbled streets.

Of all the cakes we had, the Guinness brownie and red velvet cake pop had to be our favourite. The kitchen team also accommodated my vegetarian request as well as my friend’s nut allergy, tailoring our sandwiches and cakes accordingly. 

We were served by Sophia and Jack who gave us little snippets of local information while we were driven around the city’s landmarks. In the background 1950’s jazz music plays while the food was served. 

Our tour was altered slightly due to a football final in Dublin city centre. It was a fantastic opportunity to see some of the outer areas of Dublin which we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

What better way to tour a city than being chauffeured on a double decker vintage bus while enjoying a beautiful afternoon tea?!

Before we knew it our tea adventure came to an end, we were dropped back at City Hall where we waved farewell to our lovely driver Bob. 

Not quite finished with exploring, we walked around the corner to find the famous Molly Malone statue in her temporary home outside of St. Andrew's Church (Molly is due to be moved back to Grafton Street next year). 

Molly Malone was a semi historical/legendary figure who was commemorated in the song 'Cockles and Mussels'.

“In Dublin's fair city,
Where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

Apparently Malone has been groped repeatedly in certain areas, enough so that poor Molly’s bosom has begun to wear and the bronze hue has faded.

Vintage Tea Tours run 3 times per day at 11am, 1.15pm and 3.30pm - Wednesday to Sunday departing from City Hall. The tour lasts roughly 60 minutes and costs between €40 and €50 depending on where you sit on the bus. 

Cocktail Saturdays was a guest of Vintage Tea Tours


+353 (01) 5266961

The Conrad, Dublin

Ample food and Sturdy Drink, A clean pillow for your head, And may you be forty years in heaven, B’for the Devil knows you’re dead.’ - Irish Luck

When searching for a hotel in Dublin, we wanted to stay somewhere close to St. Stephen’s Green. The Green is a beautiful park right in the heart of the city and is adjacent to one of Dublin's main shopping streets, Grafton Street. 

The Conrad Dublin is just around the corner and, following a recent €13m refurbishment, seemed the ideal place. I was already familiar with the Conrad group having recently stayed at the Conrad Algarve (link). 

The Conrad Dublin is a luxury 5* hotel opposite Dublin’s National Concert Hall. The recent refurbishment was inspired by Dublin’s rich literary culture. All 192 bedrooms have been redesigned and a new lounge bar and an all-day brasserie have been added. 

The lobby area is a stunning mix of marble and brass with pink and green leather banquette seating, inspired by the nearby Iveagh Gardens. The Gardens are perhaps not as well known as St Stephens Green but are equally as beautiful with a rosarium of pink roses and pale greens, the inspiration for the lobby’s colour scheme.

As soon as we checked in we went for brunch to The Coburg, a modern Irish Brasserie. The restaurant features equestrian detailing, inspired by the Royal Horse Bazaar, the headquarters of which was in Iveagh Gardens.

Stirrup fastenings and stitched saddlery leather details are all around. It also has it’s very own Champagne table. My kind of place!

The menu was so appealing we decided on two breakfasts each.

I had my usual egg florentine and my friend had smashed avocado. She also ordered pancakes with bacon and maple syrup while I had french toast. Unsurprisingly our eyes were bigger than our bellies and we were unable to finish the meals. We slipped into a food coma and nipped up to the room for a quick nap. 

The bedrooms are a good size, marble bathrooms with wide baths add to the feel of luxury, as does the turndown service where Butler's chocolates are left as treats. Complimentary Wi-Fi is also available to guests and all bedrooms are equipped with mini bars.

After a busy day exploring Dublin, we returned to the hotel for a night cap. There are two bars in the hotel, Alfie Byrne’s and Lemuel’s. Alfie Byrne’s by Galway Bay Brewery, is more of a pub, with up to 33 craft beers on draught all made within the USA and Ireland, along with more than 30 USA and Irish whiskeys.

It has a totally different feel to the other two bar/restaurants with more of a an American sports bar theme.

We decided to try Lemuel’s, the new cocktail lounge. This bar is named after the fictional voyager, Lemuel Gulliver, from the classic novel Gulliver's Travels, written by Irish author Jonathan Swift. The theme spills over into the cocktail menu and takes you on Lemuel’s travels around the world. Including ‘Ship on the Rocks’, when Gulliver was shipwrecked after a storm blew him off course and so began his extraordinary journey, ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ and ‘Writers Block’. 

After a couple of cocktails we too were blown off course and headed up to bed in readiness for a busy day exploring the next day…..


The Conrad Dublin

Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin, Ireland


The Dean, Dublin

You might have noticed that things have been a bit quiet on the blog recently. That’s because I recently took a weekend break to Dublin and have been recovering ever since, “when in Rome….”

I have plenty to share from the trip, but first of all I thought I’d tell you about a lovely place my friend and I discovered while we were out enjoying some cocktails.

The Dean is a seriously cool boutique hotel with an equally cool restaurant and bar attached. It is set in a terrace of beautiful Georgian townhouses on Harcourt Street, in the heart of Dublin's vibrant nightlife district.

We started with a drink in The Lobby, a quirky space with an original Tracey Emin neon piece hanging on the far wall reading 'I Fell in Love Here’. iMacs glowed from the reception and a DJ played in the centre of the room. Despite the stylish decor, it had a really laid back atmosphere.

We noticed that lots of people were going up in the lift and followed suit. Up on the 5th floor we found Sophie’s, the rooftop glasshouse restaurant with fabulous panoramic views across Dublin. It was bustling with people enjoying wood fired oven pizzas and cocktails. 

We walked through to the outside terrace area, having a go on some wooden swings along the way. The terrace is the perfect place to wrap up in a blanket under an electric heater with fantastic views across the city.

Having grabbed ourselves a free table and made ourselves comfortable we got talking to a group of Dutch people who lived in Ireland. They suggested that we try “a great bar just down the street”. It was only once we had left and were stood in said bar that we realised they had tricked us into moving on so they could nab our table. Cheeky! We trawled the city’s bars all night but didn’t find anywhere as good as The Dean. 

If you’re sampling Dublin’s nightlife, it’s definitely worth a visit!