With 10,000 pubs in a country smaller than the state of Maine, Ireland is the perfect destination for anyone who loves sampling the spirits.
Pub life is the center of Irish culture. It’s a place to gather over a pint, listen to music and tell tales into the wee hours of the morning. Literary legends aside, Ireland has given us famed drinks like Guinness, Jameson and Baileys which can be found in any bar worthy of the name anywhere in the world. To experience the origins of some of the favorite Irish tipples, head to Dublin.
The Guinness family began brewing the “black stuff” in 1759. For much of Dublin’s history, the Guinness factory at St. James Gate served as the city’s largest employer. Today, it also happens to be Dublin’s number one tourist attraction.
It gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the brew and even how to pour the perfect pint. The Gravity Bar on the seventh floor provides panoramic views of Dublin and a place to relax and enjoy a pint…or two.
In the 1770’s, Scottish-born John Jameson came to Dublin and began concocting his own spirits with the founding of Jameson Whiskey. His unique triple distilling process produced a drink of exceptional quality. Last year, Dublin played host to an Ireland versus Scotland whiskey face-off when four of the top brands from each country were blind taste-tested by an international team of experts. Jameson’s 18 Years Old Limited Reserve trumped the lot. Second place also went to an Irish whiskey. John’s Scottish ancestors would be horrified.
The Old Jameson Distillery is located in Dublin’s Smithfield Village. Visitors flock to this location to learn about the history of Jameson and the production process. If you like whiskey, volunteer to be a taster—you get to sample generous pours of Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker and Jameson in one sitting!
Literary legends like James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker were all Irish—and they also shared a love of pubs. Dublin’s Literary Pub Crawl is a unique way to be entertained by the works of some of these great writers while touring the streets of Dublin.
You don’t have to be a literary genius or even a big drinker to enjoy this fascinating tour. Actors entertain with stories and excerpts from the works of the great writers. You even get to pull up a stool at the very same pubs where these literary giants once frequented when in need of some spirited inspiration.
Most people can’t drink on the job, but my line of work is a little different. Not only did I get to sample a pint of Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse…take the whiskey taste test at the Old Jameson Distillery and roam about Dublin from pub to pub on the literary pub crawl for free, I was actually getting paid. Getting paid for drinking. Imagine that.
Editor’s Note: Terri is a travel writer and gets paid for articles she writes about her trips, like the one above. If you’d like to learn more about ways you can pay for your life or travels overseas, sign up for Fund Your Life Overseas, a free e-letter from International Living. Sign up here and we’ll send you a free report: Fund Your New Life Overseas With These 5 Portable Careers.