Saturday, March 16, 2013


Dublin is famous for its barley products.  Guiness, of course, and Jameson Whiskey.   The old whiskey works are no longer in use (good thing, I fear they were very smelly) but the factory buildings have been lovingly maintained and serves as a tasting room and sales venue, mostly for tourists.  

The building is a fairly non-descript brick industrial building.  This Dickensian scene could be very bleak except for the little touches.  Antiques and such. Not enough to clutter up the place, but enough to  ease the eye.  The bench outside which was made from an old whiskey cask...the oldest they could find.  The casks are re-used, and many really do date from the 18th century!

Once the barrels were stacked high into wagons, pulled through the streets by horses.  Above are horse brasses which decorated their tack.  Those in the know will see that the hoofs are the size of dinner plates.   No doubt their feed consisted of spent barley from the distillery.  Lucky horses.

Above, if you click on the picture, you will see two antique bicycles which James Joyce would have probable seen whizz past him when he was alive.  The one on the left is a "velocopede" and the one on the right is a "hobby horse".  Check out the chandelier made from Jameson Whiskey bottles.  I think the joy of emptying all those bottles may well be worth the trouble....grin!

Bill on the bench.  In back is a copper distillation pot.  This is the smallest, the "third" distillation.  From there it is sent directly to barrels.  Which barrels?  Well it depends upon how long they plan to let it sit.  Five year old goes into used American Bourbon barrels, 12 year old goes into used Spanish Maderia barrels, and 25 year old go into used Portugese Port barrels. It is likely then that the barrel which was made into a bench up above originated in Portugal.

Above is the malting floor.  That round cylindrical thing.  The bottom half is where a fire is lighted to toast the barley in the top half.  The top half has a very hot floor!  They put barley on that floor, wet it down, let it start to sprout.  Then they light the fire in the bottom half. 

The nice old building with its nice old beams are supported by cast iron columns.  When you look over the railing (to my left in the above picture) you can see the original floor with the large circular bases for the several malting cylinders and huge copper mash and distillery pots.

Was it worth the trip.  Heck, it was worth the flight to Ireland! 


Middle Child said...

My daughter Melissa reccomended I buy some Guiness for this St Pat's Day - Neither of us like beer and so when I went to my local to buy some the bloke said "Do you like beer?" I said "No can't stand the smell" I told him my daughter said it wasn't like beer at all - and he started to laugh - told me she was havuing a lend of me - I opened it and one mouthful...gaaarrrgh! he was right ...she told me a story about dead rats in the Guiness giving it the special taste - and found out just then before reading yours that that as well wasn't true - but this is the myth, "Some interesting myths about Guinness that need to be dispelled.

"Some time ago, at the main Guinness brewing plant in Ireland, the vats were opened and drained to clean them out. Once empty, the bottom of the vats were found to be full of dead rats. Of course, as soon as this was discovered the vats were cleaned and sterilised. However people started complaining that the Guiness didn't taste right, and so now Guinness is filtered through lamb's blood, which goes some way to explaining the unique taste. (I was told this, and it may not be true."
- This is not a true story. Guinness is most certainly not filtered through lamb's blood, neither were dead rats ever found at the bottom of vats as St. James' Gate.
""Dublin makes five or six principal versions of Guinness, in a total of 19 variations, and exports around 40 percent of its output."
- Dublin makes two versions of it's "Guinness" product, in a total of about three variations, packaged and distributed in a variety of different forms. The Guinness brewery itself brews many other products that aren't Guinness.
"The Guinness you buy in bottles is different to the Guinness in cans and on tap. The Guinness in the bottle has live yeast in it, and in America is called 'Guinness Extra Stout'. The cans and draught are simply 'Guinness'."
- Guinness is available in bottles in both forms: Draught Guinness in a bottle and Guinness Extra stout. They are two different products. Both products are available in cans and bottles. Guinness Extra stout is not available on draught.
That takes care of the blatant untruths."

Middle Child said...

Hope you are having a gre4at time as well