With many sights to see and only two full days to see them, it quickly became apparent that we were going to have to prioritize our wishlist in Dublin. We quickly decided that making a plan for the day would be best with our bellies full, so we decided to start with breakfast.
Our hotel suggested a spot called Oscar’s, and it did not disappoint. What appeared to be a bustling nightspot was now a welcoming breakfast oasis.
We decided the best way to get out and cover the most ground would be to use the Hop On/Hop Off bus, which we affectionately called the “Hoho.”
In the blink of an eye, we hopped on and hopped off at our first stop for the day, the Teeling Whiskey Distillery.
I quickly learned the history of whiskey distilleries in Dublin, including the fact that back in the day, Dublin distillers lobbied to have the “e” added to “whisky” to differentiate Dublin whiskey from “inferior Irish and Scottish whisky producers.”
At their peak in the late 19th century, Irish distilleries had a 70% global share of the whiskey market. Today, Irish whiskey has a 4% market share with percentages expected to continue to grow over the next few decades.
Due to many historical circumstances, what was at its height hundreds of distilleries and the livelihood of many had by the 1970s dwindled to only a handful of surviving whiskey makers. To stay alive, they banded together to form Irish Distillers Limited and moved production out of Dublin.
Opened in 2015, Teeling is the first “new” distillery to open in Dublin in over 125 years. And technically, because in order to legally be named Irish Whiskey 🥃 it must be aged three years and one day (to outdo the Scotch), they still haven’t produced their first independent bottle.
We toured the distillery. It was very interesting tour, punctuated by the helpful guide and appearances by the master distiller as he scuttled around the stills checking gauges and such. To round out our visit, we sampled from the “family stores” in the tasting room.
Next it was back to Hoho for a short ride to the Guinness Storehouse. If you drink beer, you probably know that Guinness is the “national beer of Ireland,” and is often the first beverage we consider when thinking of having a nice Irish beer.
At one time this chocolaty dark stout was the most popular beer in Ireland and the United Kingdom, however with the popularity of lagers and ales growing, it has declined in popularity. Regardless, we had to find out what it was all about. The Guinness Storehouse is not really a brewery tour, but more of a glitzy tourist attraction dedicated to the beer that Arthur Guinness started brewing in Dublin in 1759.
The storehouse is set on the site of the original brewery and is full-on glitz from the moment you walk through the door. The center atrium is shaped like a giant Guinness glass that extends six floors to the roof. Each floor had a different theme. The first floor focused on the history of Guinness brewing including, barrel making, the brewing process, and distribution. Moving upward, there is also a floor featuring print and video advertising through the years and another with tasting rooms. As we reached the top two floors, we attending the “Guinness Academy” which taught us how to properly “pull” a draught Guinness. Finally, we had a lovely lunch in the restaurant before visiting the uppermost floor featuring the “Gravity Bar” with 360 degree views of Dublin. It was entertaining for all of us. I even drank a whole pint of Guinness (mostly).
Jeff wanted to keep going on the “alcohol tour” of Dublin, but the girls and I were itching for some shopping time. So, we rode the Hoho to the Jameson Distillery to ditch Jeff for a nearby shopping district. It turns out that there wasn’t much in the area, so the girls and I walked back to the hotel, while Jeff went in for the whiskey tour.
After Jeff returned to the hotel, Jeff, Kiki and I returned to the hoho to complete the revolution of the city. Coincidentally, the last stop was another shopping area so Kiki and I got off to look around. Jeff stopped for a drink in a pub and went back to the hotel.
Kiki and I weren’t able to accomplish much beyond window shopping, because most shops were closing up by 7pm. However, we were able to find the Marks & Spencer (department store) Food Hall and picked up some beverages and snacks. You can never have too many snacks!
On our way home we stumbled upon the famous Molly Malone statue. Molly is a fictional Irish character and subject of the popular Irish pub song by the same name. In reference to the legend described by the lyrics, Molly Malone’s statue is also known as “the tart with a cart.”
To close our our on-the-go day, Kiki and I met up with Jeff in the Temple Bar district for a delicious Italian dinner.