Yesterday, we took a look at the first half of the Sip Syndicate’s visit to Ireland. Today, we get to the main event, as our ensemble returns to Dublin for the remainder of our voyage. Get ready for more wining, dining and even a little sightseeing, just for the heck of it.
As far as the Emerald Isle goes, there may not be a more quintessential attraction than the Guinness Storehouse. While the site is quite the facility and I was happy to finally cross it off my bucket list after missing out in 2007, I thought the experience wasn’t on par with brewery tours, such as Carlsberg or Heineken. The tour did include a pint of the infamous stout at the end, which we enjoyed in their Gravity Bar, overlooking the entire city below. The Storehouse gift shop is also quite impressive, with tons of souvenirs to be had and an expansive collection of Christmas trinkets.
Following the Guinness tour, we went for dinner at The Church, a bar and restaurant created from the converted St. Mary’s Church of Ireland. Over a number of bottles of wine, most of the Sip Syndicate went with set menu meals, while the Sip Advisor ordered a steak and Guinness pie. While the crew enjoyed their desserts, Mrs. Sip told me to treat myself to the Church Chocolate Orange Cocktail (Dubliner Liqueur, brown cacao, orange juice, egg whites, chocolate bitters). Although not what I had envisioned, it was a tasty indulgence to soothe my sweet tooth.
The next day, we had an all-day tour to Northern Ireland booked. We were all blown away by the area’s history and scenery, but still managed to fit a couple drinks into the itinerary. While at the Giant’s Causeway, we ventured into The Nook, which is a tiny little pub outside the attraction. There, I tried pints of the Macardle’s Traditional Ale and Hop House 13 Lager (brewed by Guinness).
When we arrived back in Dublin, we wandered into the Temple Bar district, in search of dinner and drinks. As was approached The Old Storehouse, I realized I had been there before, on my 2007 St. Patrick’s Day trip. Over a couple pints, Mrs. Sip and I greatly enjoyed the two meals we were sharing: Irish Cottage Pie and Seafood Chowder. As we ate, a duo of guitarists serenaded us with a mix of cover songs and trad music. We then joined the party upstairs, where a trio of musicians (including a flutist) rocked the place, as I downed glasses of the Five Lamps Lager and Guinness Stout, of course. While some of our group called it a night, a few of us tried to get into the actual Temple Bar Pub, but the place was packed and getting a drink would have been difficult, so we aborted that mission.
We picked an interesting weekend to be in Dublin as the Irish Football Finals were taking place. Deciding we wanted to witness this cultural sporting event for ourselves, we arrived at O’Neill’s Bar for the match between Dublin and Mayo. We had to arrive early to get any seating, so over the next few hours I drank servings of the Guinness Wheat Ale, BrewDog Punk IPA, and Barrelhead Indie Amber. Home side Dublin took the title in the end, after a very close, physical and entertaining affair.
Our last meal together took place at The Porterhouse Brewing Co., where our troop was very lucky to get a table amongst all the chaos. Here, I had a pint of the An Brain Blasta and also sampled their Oyster Stout. I have to also mention that over our weekend in Dublin, I relaxed each night with a bottle or two of Journeyman Brewing products. This included their IPA, Session IPA, and IPL, which were each quite tasty.
To sum up our travels, I found Ireland to be a beautiful place, with friendly people who had no problem dropping an F-bomb or two! Traversing the country’s roads were challenging, but worth it for the sights, sounds and experiences.