Only in Ireland, Dublin specifically would you find a church on the grounds of St. James Gate Brewery. But then again this happens to be where they brew Guinness. Arthur Guinness is a virtual Saint in the city. I am surprised that there is no Catholic mass conducted using Guinness instead of wine.
They sing his praises on every tour and especially at the Brewery tour.
During a trip to New Grange which is about an hour out of Dublin, an American from Philidelphia asked if we had been on the Guinness tour. The tip off was the Guinness hat and sweatshirt I was wearing at the time. He asked, "On the tour do they have a place where you can sit and have a pint?" I laughed out loud and said, "The entire Guinness Storehouse is one large bar." That is not entirely true. It is actually a gathering of Guinness resturants, stores and "consumption areas" in what can only be considered a Mall dedicated to an original grog called Porter Extra Stout which Aurhur introduced in 1759. The rest as they say is Irish History. It is odd for a guy like me who grew up in a very dry area of Texas to see people waiting in line with a glass of beer in their hands. I adapted to the custom very quickly.
One of the best moments of Guiness day was the "connoisseur bar". We would not have known it was available if friends had not told us about it. It is a beautiful quiet bar isolated from the "theme park" aspect of the rest of the tour. A Guiness expert bartender gives history, stories, and most importantly samples of the Guinness product line called "variants". And of course we are taught the proper way to pour a pint of Guinness. There are six steps in the process and it takes 119.5 seconds to perform correctly. Although it takes a couple of times to get it 100% right, newby Guinness bartendwers like myself are allowed to drink their mistakes. Here is a picture of my second attempt, notice the extreme concentration on my face.
Of course this was only one day in a couple of weeks in Ireland. It is as beautiful as I was always told it would be. No wonder why green is so closely associated with Ireland. Everything is green, and so many kinds of green. And Dublin is the city of writers. James Joyce, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde (to name only a few). The inhabitants value the arts and there are book stores... actual books being sold there, on almost every corner of the city. I don't know my heritage. I have never gone on Ansestry.com, the only thing I have ever been is Texan. However, I have such an affinity for this island Country I plan to forge my ansestry to make myself Irish.
As I write this Sandi and I are on the train to Galway to meet my best friend and his wife. So far the vacation has just been a warm up for the fun to come. Erin go Braless.... lock the pubs and hide the darts but keep the Jameson flowing.
As you were,