Today we were off the the Guinness Brewery, so a hearty breakfast was in order. We started the day walking the grey sidewalk in the rain until we hit Brother Hubbard, a little cafe inviting those cold, wet souls in from the sidewalk with baked goods, heat lamps, and a funky decor. We couldn’t decide on what to order from their Moroccan-influenced menu, so just ordered a pile of things.
We started with their Ginger scones, slathered in orange blossom butter and topped with a selection of jams: apple with a hint of clove, berry with rose and almond, and spiced marmalade.
Next up was fennel pulled pork, beans, poached eggs and sourdough – finishing up with semolina pancakes topped with whipped ricotta, berries, rose, mint and praline.
After breakfast, we wandered the rest of the way over to the Guinness Storehouse, and head into the massive, 7 story building for our self-guided tour. You make your way through the storehouse, learning how Guinness is brewed, about the ingredients, barrels, hops, barley, malt, water and yeast.
The brewery recently celebrated its 250th anniversary, and they still have a lot of the original equipment around. The Guinness recipe is still true to the original, and the yeast strain is the same as day 1 (well, yeast is always developing but they have never started with a new strain).
Different levels showed advertising campaigns, history, and about Arthur Guinness himself. We head into the ‘Academy’ where we learned to pour a perfect pint of Guinness. We then took our pints up to the seventh level, the Gravity Bar, and stood with a 360º view of Dublin. The sun had come out while we were inside, so we could see to the far reaches of the city.
We were in a Guinness mood now, so we head over to the Brazen Head, officially Ireland’s oldest pub, established in 1198. Yep, you read that right – this pub dates back to the 11th Century. It survived through the Middle Ages, bar fights and brawls, wars, riots, famines and changing communities. It serves THE BEST traditional Irish stew, filled with soft lamb, lightly seasoned stock, potatoes, carrots and a side of fresh bread to tear into chunks and dip.
We wandered over to The Cake Cafe for afternoon tea, an environmentally conscious cafe using ethically sourced ingredients whereever possible. Very popular around town, we tried a selection of their homestyle cakes. Highlight was the orange chocolate.
Finally, we were close to being done with drinking and eating for the day. We wandered back up to the Temple Bar district – I caught the sun setting down this alleyway, homeward-bound workers silhouetted against the orange sky.
We dropped past Gallagher’s Boxty House for some more Irish food before we head home – this time, the ‘boxty’, a potato ‘dough’ that can be made into dumplings, pancakes, or bread. We had a delicious corned beef and cabbage filled boxty pancake, a boxty pancake cut into strips and fried with smoked garlic aioli (so, basically, a fried pancake cut up and fried. again.) and boxty dumplings in a creamy blue cheese sauce. It was a heavy, heavy meal but absolutely delicious. I am definitely going to start eating more Irish food.