Friday, October 24, 2008

Dublin Part II

On the second day in Dublin, I visited the two sites that I really wanted to see. First up was the Kilmainham Gaol. This site is most famous for its role as a political prison up to the early 20th century. (If you're British, I wouldn't recommend going here.) This is one of the most important historical sites in Ireland because prominent leaders in Ireland's many revolutions were held and often executed here. We had a great tour and it was fascinating to walk through the jail and go in the cells. Very similar to Alcatraz, but with much, much more cultural significance.

I'm going to go off on a tangent, but I've developed this huge pet peeve since I've been over here. It's the habit of people taking Facebook pictures in historical places. (I define a Facebook picture as: a picture of only yourself where you're smiling and giving a thumb's up sign or some other gesture. Preferably the picture is taken somewhere that will make you look cool. Bonus points if you can see your arm holding up your camera to take the picture.) Some places are appropriate for this, but there are other places that just aren't. I consider the jail to be one of the latter. More than once on this tour, the guide would give a detailed description about how a tragic event took place in a particular spot, and then 2 seconds later some idiot was giving a thumb's up posing for a picture. But enough of that...

After the jail, the next stop was the Guinness factory. I have to admit that this was probably the main reason why I wanted to go to Dublin. Guinness is basically my favorite brand of anything, so I was excited to see what the the brewery and the museums were like. Once you're inside, you keep going up stairs in the storehouse--you see the detailed history of the company and the process that's used to make the beer. You also see all of the ingredients that are used. The process was a bit more complicated than the bucket I use to make beer at home.

I think most people do the tour in about an hour and a half, but I was here for 5 hours. There was a huge exhibit on Guinness advertising, and I'm a bit of a marketing nerd. Naturally I took pictures of every single ad and other historical items that they had here. It was at least a few hundred pictures. Donald Draper would be proud.

Once you get to the top of the building, there's a Gravity Bar. Of course, the only thing on tap in the bar is Guinness. In the bar, there's an amazing panoramic view of the entire city--probably the best view in town...when the sky is clear. (Note: the sky is never clear in Ireland, so I'll let you figure that out.)

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