There are many small pleasures in life. Something that doesn’t get old and never loses its magic. At the top of the list for me is… an extra cold pint of Guinness – there’s nothing quite like it. I’ll forever remember the taste of that first sip of Irish liquid gold after running the London Marathon.

It goes well with every occasion. Watching England at the World Cup, seeing the new year in at your local and, of course, pub crawls. The latter are a part of British culture. Like fish and chips, rain at Glastonbury and tea and scones with the Queen. Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps. It just feels so right, doesn’t it?

I enjoy the simple things in life

Founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness at St James’ gate in Dublin, Guinness is brewed in almost 50 countries and is available for purchase in more than 150 – making it one of the most successful alcohol brands in the world.

I was indifferent when it came to Guinness until earlier this year. It was only during a day out in Liverpool with some friends that I had one that hit differently – it’s been my favourite alcoholic drink ever since.

Four pints of Guinness before heading to the Cavern Club

Shortly after that trip to Liverpool in January, we started planning a little trip across the Irish sea.

There were a number of things we wanted to see and do in the country that makes up half of my bloodline. At the top of the list, somewhat predictably, was to see if Guinness really does taste better in Ireland.

Welcome to Dublin

A one-hour flight isn’t classed as long-haul. However, it’s an eternity if you’re forced to sit next to someone with my conversational skillset. With that in mind, we decided to get things started the only way we Brits know how – a pint at the Stansted Airport Wetherspoons to wet the whistle.

We were feeling hopeful, and, after avoiding any sort of hassle at the airport, we were feeling lucky.

We checked in to our Air Bnb and made our way to the city centre. En route we kept our eyes peeled for the most precious of sights – a traditional Irish pub.

The Brazen Head

The first pub we visited also has a place in the record books. The Brazen Head is the oldest watering hole in the city. And, if it wasn’t for Sean’s Bar in Athlone, it would be the oldest in the country.

We were blessed with warm weather for our visit to Dublin, and The Brazen Head has the perfect outdoor seating area. As soon as we arrived the first round of drinks was in front of us. The moment we had been waiting for was finally here. That first sip of Guinness in Dublin.

It instantly hit differently. Creamier and smoother than what I’m used to just an hour flight away. It’s more than just a placebo my friends.

We visited The Brazen Head a number of times, including before we flew home. Partially due to its geographical location to our accommodation, but we also liked the vibe. It manages to hold that traditional Irish pub atmosphere without losing itself to its unique selling point.

Temple Bar

The Temple Bar is known by many as the worst pub in Dublin for being nothing but a tourist trap. Situated in the heart of Temple Bar District, it’s not uncommon to see a queue around the block just to get in. Mindful of this, we took the opportunity to walk straight in and find a table at around 3 pm on a Thursday afternoon.

The reason people aren’t so fond of Temple Bar is due to the inflated prices associated with the name. Just like everything in Las Vegas, you pay a premium because of the reputation.

But how bad could it be? Well, chance would have it that it was my turn to get a round in. Having bought many in my lifetime, I can say with absolute certainty that until Temple Bar I had never paid north of £30 for four pints. There’s a first time for everything, I guess.

Money aside. Did we like Temple Bar? We did. There’s no doubt it has a cool vibe and I can imagine the music long into the night is a fun environment to be in. Would it be worth queueing around the block for? No. Is it worth the inflated prices? No. Are we glad we went in? Absolutely.

Guinness Storehouse

Well well well, here we are, the belly of the beast. If there’s one place to get the best Guinness in all of Ireland then surely it’s here? The very place it was first brewed more than 250 years ago.

I’ve toured a few breweries and distilleries during my travels over the years. Most notably and comparably was the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam back in 2013.

The self-guided tour starts off how you would expect. Talking you through the stages of making a stout, how Guinness got started and what gives this most famous of alcoholic drinks its unique colour.

There’s seven floors in total which make up the Storehouse, but, if I’m honest, the last few are all targeted marketing which there is enough of in this world. I definitely recommend visiting the Storehouse while you’re in the city, especially if you’re into that sort of thing. But, when all is said and done, I think the Heineken Brewery is slightly better. Also, the Jameson Whisky distillery in Dublin which we did the next day is a better tour in my opinion.

There was one last thing we had to do before leaving the Storehouse. Which, somewhat predictably, was cash in on the ‘free’ Guinness. I use the term ‘free’ loosely, because we all know it’s built into the price of the ticket.

At the very end of the tour is the 360 Gravity bar. It’s far from a traditional Irish pub but the views of the city are superb and the Guinness is as pure as they come.

Does Guinness taste better in Ireland?

Before we knew it our three-night stay in Dublin was over, but the memories would stay solidified in my mind forever.

As I write this I’m currently sat in my local, with a pint of Guinness next to me and the cricket on in the background, reflecting on the noblest mission mankind has ever done. So, let me share some of the numbers with you.

Ten traditional Irish pubs, 135 pints of Guinness and five Irish coffees, four brothers in arms, half a pint of Guinness for every hour we were in Ireland and one 1000 word blog post later. I’m delighted, ladies and gentlemen, to tell you that Guinness does taste better in Ireland.

Simply put, it hits different.

Like what you see? Please take a look at some of my other travel posts below

Iceland’s newest wonder – the Sky Lagoon
Back to travelling: Four nights in Iceland
First trip abroad since the pandemic: Budapest
A love letter to New Zealand
Peru: Four years since Machu Picchu
Karaoke in La Paz, Bolivia
South America throwback: Brazil and Argentina

Other Links
Mind website
Cork Ironman

Travel | Does Guinness taste better in Ireland?

Jordan Camp

I’ve been sharing my writing with the world since 2015. Back then it was about travel, then I transitioned into wellbeing and mental health awareness. Soon after I was being paid for it as I wrote about sports, politics and, of course, the pandemic. My words have been published in the i, Mancunian Matters and a number of the South West London associated publications. In 2021 I ran my first marathon, for the UK mental health charity, Mind. I currently live in Essex where I am training to become an Ironman.

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