Thursday, 3 January 2008

You cannot be serious

Aah Guinness!! I was introduced to it at a very tender age and although I didn't like it at the time, a few years later I revisited it at an Irish Music Session and took back all I said about it. It's refreshing in the summer and reassuring in the winter.

Although born and bred in England, I do have a taste for things Irish. dancing at a Ceili with a Live band playing reels should be tried by everyone (or at least just standing and listening). Riverdance may be passé to some but the energy and precision that the dancers attain deserves a certain respect.

With this in mind, when it came to deciding upon a location for my Stag 'do', Dublin was proposed. After rejecting it, then subsequently rejecting Bath, Bristol, Snowdonia and others we eventually decided that despite Dublin being a 'Stag and Hen free zone' we would have a weekend there.

And a great weekend we had, too. It is emphatically not a Stag and Hen free zone. Although some Hotels did not take single-sex group bookings, it was not too much of a problem to find some that do and once we hit Temple Bar, other groups had obviously succeeded too. If you want a quiet drink, then don't go to Temple Bar. Don't go there if you want the barman to draw a shamrock on your Guinness. They are in the business of pulling pints, with them lined up on the bar, settling in anticipation of being bought - which they were by the gallon. Everywhere was packed and should you wish to eat, you need to book. Useful tip:- if you are in a group, break up into smaller groups - 3 or 4 to get into bars otherwise the bouncers will live up to their name.

We were only there for the weekend and wanted to soak up some of the culture as well, so a quick jaunt to the James Joyce Museum in a Martello Tower and a stroll over the ha'penny bridge as well as checking out Molly Malone (the Tart with the Cart) meant we could then attack the Guinness Brewery with a clear conscience. The Brewery at St James' Gate is a good way of spending an afternoon. You actually get to go around the Storehouse, not the Brewery. From Wikipedia:
Guinness Storehouse, "the home of Guinness", is Dublin's most popular tourist attraction. A converted brewing factory, it is effectively a shrine to Guinness, incorporating elements from the old brewing factory to explain the history of its production.
The exhibition takes place over 7 floors, in the shape of a 14 million pint glass of Guinness. The final floor is the Gravity Bar, which has an almost 360° panorama over the city, where visitors can claim a free pint of "the black stuff".
Hmmm. A tour and a free pint. Sounds good to me. The tour was good, detailing the manufacturing process as well as other items of note. The evolution of the various advertising campaigns over the years was on show from the 'Guinness is Good For you' to the Toucan adverts and beyond. Finally, we got to the Gravity bar and exchanged our tickets for a pint. We managed to grab a couple of tables (there were about 10 of us) and settled down to enjoy our pints. After a short while, glasses were empty, it was mid-afternoon and we had nowhere to be, so why not settle in? I went up to the Bar. "10 Pints of Guinness, please". "Can I have your ticket". "We've used our tickets, can I buy a round?" "Sorry Sir, I can't sell you a pint, we're not licenced". "What???" "We're not licenced to sell alcohol, hence why it's included in the ticket. You'll have to go and buy another ticket if you want another drink".

Stunned, I made my way back to the group and relayed the news. After a pregnant pause, one of my so-called friends then piped up "So, here we are in Dublin on a Stag weekend and we can't organise a piss up in a Brewery".

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