The Old Jameson Distillery and The Guinness Storehouse are two of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions. When I asked Mr. P what he wanted to do in Dublin, he said “Guinness and Jameson.” Noted.
Here’s everything you need to know before you go, including some things I wish we’d known!
Important: you will not actually see alcoholic beverages being made at either of these places. More details below, but I’m mentioning it here in case it’s a deal breaker.
Both places are very centrally located in Dublin. We did both in one day but I would not recommend that (read on for why). We did the basic ticket for each — both offer an enhanced tasting experience for an extra fee.
The Old Jameson Distillery
I think it’s called the “old” distillery because Jameson is no longer made on site. It’s manufactured in a larger facility in County Cork.
Guided Tour: a ticket to the Distillery gets you a guided tour by an actual human. The guide shows you equipment that used to be used at the facility, explains how Jameson is made, and answers questions.
Tickets: tickets are €15.00 for adults at the door or €13.50 purchased online in advance. Tickets sell out, so I recommend booking in advance.
Whiskey Tasting: the tour includes a quick whiskey tasting to compare an American whiskey, Jameson, and a scotch.
Free Drink & Certificate: After the tour, you get a free Jameson neat or a Jameson with ginger ale and lime. You have the option to print a whiskey taster certificate.
The Shop, Restaurant, and Bar: These are all accessible without a ticket. There’s a neat bar in the lobby of the distillery, which has glass floors to show the old foundation.
We preferred Jameson to Guinness. I’ll explain more below but I liked the personalization of the guided tour. Our guide knew the word for barley in an obscene number of languages. I will say that if our guide hadn’t been great, the tour might not have been worth it.
Tour was a bit fast. The website says that the tour lasts just under an hour but it felt a lot faster. Our guide was awesome but it did feel like we were being moved along quickly. The tasting was lightening fast. I can understand that they need to set up the tasting for the next group, but it’s worth noting.
Glad we bought our tickets early. Really glad. When we got there, the tours for the entire morning were sold out already.
Get there about 10 minutes early. If you buy your tickets online, you still need to check in so they can print them for you.
If you’re not really into Jameson, maybe skip the tour. Here’s the thing — we know how whiskey is made. But Mr. P was really into seeing the whole thing and the tour was fun, if a little light. But, if you just want to see the building and say you’ve been there, you can just as easily visit and get a drink at the bar, which looked cool.
The Guinness Storehouse
Guinness is actually made on site in Dublin, but you will not get to see that during your visit.
Tickets: €16.20 online for adults, €18.00 at the door. There is no set date or time for the tickets, so you can visit whenever you want.
Not a tour, an “experience.” The whole shebang is seven massive floors each with a different thing, such as how Guinness is made, advertising, the barrels, and more. You kind of file along at your own pace. There are things to read and TV monitors that explain things.
Free Drink: Your ticket gets you a free drink either at the Gravity Bar at the top of the Storehouse or you can use it to practice pouring yourself a pint. You can’t do both.
The Shop, Restaurants, and Bar: You must have a ticket to access these. You can’t simply go for a drink or dinner without a ticket.
How do I put this . . . overkill? Artificial? The place is a huge temple to Guinness, but it was almost like it lacked substance. Different than Jameson, it’s all new and modern on the inside. Maybe it just wasn’t our thing, but I don’t find it really interesting to watch a monitor explain things to me or just read a bunch of placards.
Go for the Gravity Bar. The Gravity Bar at the top makes the ticket worth it. If it were me, I’d head straight there to get a good seat and my free Guinness, then head downstairs to look at the other stuff. The bar has the best views of the city.
It can get crowded. This is where we should have done things differently. I recommend getting there early. It was crowded working through the “experience” and it was shoulder to shoulder in the Gravity Bar. There were long lines for all of the hands-on stuff. If we did it over again, we’d do Jameson and Guinness on two separate days, each in the morning.
I’m not saying I don’t recommend it. It would be hard to be in Dublin and not go. But, know what you’re getting yourself into and enjoy it for what it is.
I hope this helps you plan your trip! Have you been before? I’m interested to hear if anyone else had a different experience.
Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland
Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March. Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here.