If you’re planning to visit Dublin, Ireland, it’s very likely you’ll include Guinness Storehouse as part of your travel itinerary. Or, at least, you should. After all, it was voted Europe’s best tourist attraction by the prestigious World Travel Awards, beating out the likes of the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace and the Roman Colosseum. Also the most visited attraction in all of Ireland, the Guinness Storehouse was created not only to serve as a visitor center, but to also serve as a multimedia platform portraying the fascinating history of St. James Brewery, its founder and the Guinness brand, founded more than 250 years ago. While St. James Brewery is not open to the public, this ultimate guide offers everything you need to know before you make your visit to the Guinness Storehouse.
St. James. Gate
Dublin 8, Ireland
+353 1 408 4800
About Guinness Storehouse
Built in 1904, the Guinness Storehouse was originally used as a fermentation house for the St. James Gate Brewery, the brewery founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759. By 1833, St. James Brewery was the largest brewery in Ireland and eventually became the first major brewery to be incorporated as a public company on the London Stock Exchange. The storehouse was later converted into a sterile plant during the 1950s and was in operational use until the 1980s, eventually closing in 1986. Since December 2000, Guinness Storehouse has served as a public visitor’s center and features seven levels accessible primarily by escalators and anchored by the building’s original steel girders and a giant glass atrium that’s shaped to resemble a pint of Guinness beer. Although the Storehouse is no longer part of the brewing process, more than three million pints of Guinness are produced daily at St. James Gate Brewery, making it the world’s largest exporter of stout.Today, Guinness beer is sold in more than 150 countries.
Related: 72 Hours In Dublin, Ireland
Guinness Storehouse is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last admission is at 5 p.m.) During June and July, the last admission is at 6 p.m.
Open all year except on Good Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day (December 26).
Advance ticket purchases are available online and entitle ticketholders to benefits like entry into a fast track queue and a 10 percent discount off admission for adults. Tickets for the Connoisseur Experience, which includes a premium VIP tasting experience, may also be purchased online.
All adult tickets include a complimentary pint of Guinness (with valid ID). Visitors under 18 will receive a complimentary soft drink. Student ID is required for student tickets and all children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Adults (18+): from €16
Students (18+) w/student ID: €18
Family (2 adults, 4 children under 18): €48.50
Senior Citizen (65+): €18
Children 11-17 (10 and under are free): €13.50
Guinness Storehouse Tours
Most visitors do a self-guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse, which is expected to last approximately 1.5 hours. Guided tours are available but need to be booked in advance by contacting the Reservations Office. Preferred rates are available to members of the public, the travel industry and language schools. All tours does not include a visit to St. James Brewery.
How To Get To Guinness Storehouse
Guinness Storehouse is approximately 1.5 miles from Dublin city center. Estimated time to walk the distance is generally from 20-30 minutes.
From the city center, visitors can take the Dublin Bus route 123 every 8-10 minutes from either O’Connell Street or from Dame Street. Visitors can then get off the bus at the James’s Gate-James Street bus stop.
From Dublin city center, motorists can head west on College Green towards Grafton Street, then continue onto Thomas Street. At the St. James’s Gate Brewery, motorists should then turn left onto Echlin Street, then left onto Grand Canal Place (which turns into Pim Street). Then turn left onto Market Street with the n Storehouse on the left. Free parking is around the corner on Crane Street next to the old Hopstore. The amount of parking spaces is limited.
The closest Luas Red Line tram stop for Guinness Storehouse is at St. James’ Hospital. After leaving the station, visitors must walk approximately 765 yards to reach the Storehouse.
By Tour Bus
One of the best ways to visit Guinness Storehouse is with Dublin’s Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tours. In addition to a stop at the storehouse, the popular tour bus makes stops at the capital city’s most popular attractions, including Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Stephen’s Green. Both the Red Route and the Blue Route makes stops at Guinness Storehouse.
Guinness Storehouse Attractions
The Guinness Flagship Retail Store is a must-see for any visitor and especially for any staunch fan of Guinness beer. The spacious retail store offers all sorts of Guinness-branded items such as T-shirts and hoodies, souvenirs like key rings and refrigerator magnets, things for the kitchen, glassware, barware and the most recent edition of the branded Guinness World Records, formerly known as the Guinness Book of World Records. The flagship store is known to feature the world’s largest collection of Guinness memorabilia and exclusive merchandise. Also on the ground floor at the base of the atrium is a circular glass enclosure displaying a copy of the original 9,000-year lease agreement signed by Arthur Guinness in 1759. Although the historic lease is no longer valid, it’s very unlikely St. James Brewery would ever move to another location. The last attraction to see on the ground floor is Our Brewing Story, an enormous exhibit that details how Guinness beer is produced and introduces its legendary ingredients, such as the famous strain of yeast carried on from generations past. Other highlights of the exhibit include a waterfall display signifying the importance of spring water gathered from the Wicklow Mountains for the brewing process and a replica of a copper tun (large beer cask), capable of storing beer from up to 600 barrels.
The Arthur Guinness Story exhibit chronicles the life and the over 250 year legacy of the founder of Ireland’s most famous brewery in 1759 after he signed the 9,000-year lease on the former brewery at St. James Gate for annual rent of €45. Guinness was able to make the purchase years after he received £100 from the will of his godfather, Arthur Price, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Cashel. By the 1780s, Arthur Guinness signed an 8,795-year lease protecting his water source and around the same time, his second son, Arthur II, began working for the company. Arthur II eventually created a partnership with his brothers Benjamin and William Lunell after the death of Arthur Sr. in 1803. The partnership became known as “A.B. & W.L. Guinness & Co., brewers and flour millers.” The exhibit also has on display the only known portrait painting of Arthur Guinness, bounded by printed information about the four indispensable ingredients (water, barley, hops and yeast) in making Guinness beer, along with a fifth ingredient that’s Arthur Guinness’ himself. The other attraction on the first floor is the Cooperage & Transport exhibit, detailing how master craftsmen made Guinness beer barrels, with several stacks of barrels on display along with historical transportation-related artifacts and film footage.
The second floor houses the Tasting Experience, where visitors first pass through a colorful lit corridor to reach a room that allows them to smell the special ingredients used for the brewing process, such as roasted barley and malt. In an adjoining room visitors are greeted by helpful staff members at a beer counter, where small glasses of Guinness beer (also known as the black stuff) are served. Although typically referred to as the black stuff, the Irish dry stout is not black but instead a dark ruby red created by the roasted barley.
One of the true highlights of Guinness Storehouse is the World of Advertising exhibit on the third floor. Detailing more than 80 years of Guinness advertisements, the 360-degree viewing area features film footage of ads, historical artifacts such as illustrated ads and sculpted characters like a turtle transporting a pint of Guinness and a seal balancing a pint of the “black stuff” inspired by the first Guinness television ad, which featured a seal and first aired in the UK on September 22, 1955. There is also a visitor’s photo booth with an exterior sign proudly proclaiming “It’s Guinness Time.” Other popular must-see attractions in the World of Advertising is the video of the famous Guinness advertising slogan “good things come to those who wait” and the famous 1702 Downhill Harp by Cormac O’Kelly (based upon the O’Neill Harp preserved in the Library of Trinity College Dublin) and the inspiration for the familiar Guinness harp trademark on every Guinness beer label, along with Arthur Guinness’ signature. The third floor also holds the Arthur Guinness Business Centre, featuring a training and conference area capable of hosting up to 2,000 guests.
Ticketholders for the Connoisseur Experience have exclusive entry to the luxurious Connoisseur Bar for a VIP beer tasting. Visitors will be served the perfect pour (also known as the two part pour) of Guinness beer, from an expert bartender, who will also describe the legendary six step process of serving at the correct temperature (6-7 degrees centigrade), at the right angle (45 degrees) and poured over a precise amount of time (119.5 seconds) into a tulip-shaped pint glass. The lavish lounge is also filled with fine furnishings, shelves full of Guinness beer and Guinness memorabilia, such as rare books and paintings. Also on the fourth floor is the Guinness Academy, where visitors can learn the six step process of how to pour their own perfect pint of Guinness.
The fifth floor is the setting for the Storehouse’s two upscale restaurants, Brewers’ Dining Hall and 1837 Bar & Brasserie, in addition to Arthur’s Bar. Both restaurants offer plenty of seating and iconic branded entrees, such as the signature Beef and Guinness Stew, Guinness Corned Beef and Guinness Lamb Stew, as well as the popular Guinness with oysters and other tasty dishes. Named after the founder, Arthur’s Bar is the newest of the three Storehouse bars and features a traditional yet stylishly contemporary Irish pub and offering plenty of outstanding food and drink.
The top level houses the Gravity Bar, with its 360-degree views of Dublin, is the grand finale of the tour. Open to all ticketholders, the circular, glass enclosed Gravity Bar sits atop the rooftop of the historic Guinness Store, making it an extraordinary place to enjoy one or more of the perfectly poured pints of the black stuff while enjoying the magnificent views of the city skyline and the Dublin Mountains. At 150 feet above ground level, the Gravity Bar is the highest bar in the city.
Related: 7 Can’t-Miss European Brewery Tours
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering national/international travel for CBS Local and all things San Francisco for CBS San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. He may be contacted via Twitter or Linkedin .