Is Guinness better in Ireland? That’s what I heard. People kept saying to know the true taste of Guinness you had to taste it in Ireland. And not just in Ireland. But Dublin.
I made the pilgrimage to the highly touted and popular attraction: the Guinness Storehouse. The walk along Thomas Street was engaging and the signage plenty to direct the way. However, after arriving and taking a few photos of the building, I balked at the entry. Standing off to the side in the downstairs lobby, busloads of people brushed by me as tickets were flying around. Something inside me screamed, “walk away.”
I didn’t want my first honest tasting to be a tourist attraction. I wanted the real deal. I wanted an authentic Irish pub serving Guinness. After all, I had already quickly learned the best thing about Ireland is the Irish. I decided I needed my true first taste of Guinness at a pub. A real authentic, the ‘folks go there after work’ kind of pub. I called a friend in Hamburg who had lived in Dublin for a few years and he had the answer. Mulligan’s is the only place to go he said, so off I went.
Walking into Mulligan’s is easy, picking a place to sit not so much. I looked for anyone looking likely to leave. A chap with an empty seat beside him, but draped with a coat, chimed out, “here’s a seat, my friend is leaving.” Thanking him I sat down and just as suddenly his friend appeared, but not seemingly interested in leaving. I looked at him saying, “your friend gave your seat away, your pint is almost empty, let me buy you one before you leave.”
And that was the start of a wondrous few hours. Turns out I was given the seat of the esteemed journalist Declan Dunne, author of the tome Mulligan’s Grand Old Pub of Poolbeg Street. And the barman? Noel Hawkins, probably the most affable barman in the city. He pulled me my first delicious pint of rich and creamy Guinness.
After plenty of laughs, stories and 2 pints of Guinness later, I asked Noel. “What’s the secret to a good tasting pint of Guinness?” He told me this. It’s keeping a very short, and scrupulously clean, line from the keg to the tap.
So when in Dublin, skip the Guinness Storehouse and do what the Irish do. Head to a pub!