Ireland Beer Trip – Day 2 – Oscar and Molly Sittin’ in a Tree…..

It’s day two! Everyone is well rested and fatigue is but a distant memory. We’re ready to hit the ground running – for the most part – and the biggest item on our itinerary for the day is visiting the infamous Guinness Brewery. We’re ready.

On the way, we took a leisurely walk through St. Stephen’s Green. At twenty-two acres, this is Dublin’s largest public park. Originally, only well-to-do locals had access to the park but in 1877, at the urging of Sir A.E. Guinness, parliament passed an Act to re-open it to the public. Guinness paid to have the park laid out as it is today before giving to the people in 1880.

Many of us took a moment to admire the swans and ducks at the lake before heading to nearby Merrion Square see the statue of Oscar Wilde.

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was  an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist and poet. In the early 1890’s, he was London’s most popular playwright who was best known for his works The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest.

Despite being married to a wealthy Englishwoman, which resulted in two sons, Wilde carried on an affair with a young man named Lord Alfred Douglas. When Douglas’ father found out about the affair he left a card at Wild’s home addressed to “Oscar Wilde; Posing Somdomite” misspelling Sodomite. Wilde was so enraged that he sued the man for libel. During the trail, evidence of Wild’s homosexuality was presented which resulted is the dismissal of the original case and the arrest of Wilde for “gross indecency”. Wilde was convicted on May 25, 1895 and sentenced to two years in prison.

Upon his release, Wilde exiled himself to France where he died three years later, at the age of 46, of meningitis.

While Wilde fled Ireland a broken man, he is hailed as a national treasure today. His statue rests atop a rock just across from his childhood home and is as unique as he was.

What stands out most about the Oscar Wilde statue are the colors. His jacket is carved from green nephrite jade and collar from pink Norwegian thulite. His pants were created with blue pearl granite. It truly is a unique work of art. A small bronze statue of his pregnant wife is nearby.

We then took a quick romp through the grounds of Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university, before heading to see the Molly Malone statue.

The Molly Malone statue depicts a busty woman pushing a cart along the streets on Dublin. Molly Malone is a popular song which has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin.

Here are the lyrics:

In Dublin’s fair city,

Where the girls are so pretty,

I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,

As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,

Through streets broad and narrow,

Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”

“Alive, alive, oh,

Alive, alive, oh,”

Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh”.

She was a fishmonger,

But sure ’twas no wonder,

For so were her father and mother before,

And they wheeled their barrows,

Through the streets broad and narrow,

Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”

(chorus)

She died of a fever,

And no one could save her,

And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.

But her ghost wheels her barrow,

Through streets broad and narrow,

Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”

 There is no evidence that Molly Malone was an actual person but her fame among Dubliners is so great that when her statue was revealed by Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alderman Ben Briscoe on June 13, 1988 he declared it Molly Malone Day.

Disclaimer: The Molly Malone statue is temporarily situated on Suffolk but set to return to its original location of Grafton Street by the end of 2017.

The group finally meandered to the St. James Gate Brewery AKA Guinness. This brewery was founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness and became the largest brewery in the world by 1886. While it is no longer the largest in the world, it still holds the record as the largest brewer of stout in the world.

Fun fact: Group member, Dan Rosen, went to school with Arthur Guinness’ grandson-Rupert Guinness.

During our tour, we got to view the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin’s most popular tourist attraction. It was originally a brewing factory and has since been converted into a museum, which houses some of the old brewing equipment as well as brewing ingredients and insight into brewing techniques. The Storehouse is massive at seven stories and is in the shape of a 14-million-pint glass of Guinness.

After learning about the Guinness family and their beer, we were ready to learn how to pour the perfect pint.

Now that I am an expert at this (I have the certificate to prove it!) I’ll fill you in on how to pour like a pro:

Step 1: Start with a clean, dry 20-ounce tulip pint glass

Step 2: Place the glass under the tap at a 45-degree angle

Step 3: Pull the nozzle forward and allow beer to flow into the glass until it is three quarters of the way full

Step 4: Let the beer settle for 119.5 seconds

Step 5: Top off the glass

Step 5: Enjoy

You’re welcome.

While I enjoyed the visit to Guinness it fueled my desire to see the small craft breweries of Ireland, the little guys who are reinventing the beer scene and challenging the status quo. I knew they were on the schedule in the coming days and my excitement about it was growing.

We continued with the theme of Irish history with a visit to The Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest pub dating back to 1198. Stepping into the Brazen Pub is like stepping back in time. You can’t help but imagine Irishmen of every century throwing back a pint and sharing a limerick or two.

Dinner was at J.W. Sweetman’s Craft Brewery. With its dark and ornate woodwork, fireplace and tapestries you wouldn’t necessarily think “Craft Brewery” when you walk into this place. It has the feel of a good old-fashioned Irish Pub where you’d order a Guinness and leave well enough alone.

However, J.W. Sweetman’s is the only pub in Dublin with its own micro-brewery. That means local craft beer! We were given a tasting of all five beers. My favorite was the porter, which was thick with notes of chocolate and tobacco giving it a subtle and enjoyable smokiness.

That was day 2. It was a long but interesting look at the city and how the Guinness family helped shape Ireland it into what it is today as well as how craft beer is emerging into a force to be reckoned with.

If you haven’t checked out my recap of Day 1 click here.

Cheers!

If you’d like to go on a super cool beer adventure led by the one and only Owen Ogletree then find out how here.

 

 

 

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