Written by travel  |  25. July 2003

Ireland's capital city of Dublin is booming, having taken on a new life in the past decade as Europe's "fun city." With teeming pedestrian shopping malls, beautiful parks, rollicking pubs, literary landmarks, and historic sites, Dublin is a fascinating urban destination and a must stop on any European itinerary. A visit to this vibrant city would be incomplete, however, without paying homage to its most revered export, Guinness stout, the drink that has defined Dublin for the past 250 years. And that homage can be paid with a visit to Dublin's most popular tourist attraction, the Guinness Brewery, located in the heart of the City Centre on the River Liffey at St. James's Gate. The history of Sir Arthur Guinness's landmark brewery unfold's in the "Guinness Storehouse" a multi-million, multi-media experience that mirrors the shape of "the perfect pint." Visitors learn about the firm's beginnings and the "sweetheart lease" Sir Arthur negotiated, giving him the land and buildings for 9,000 (yes!) years at about $70 per annum. The lease of course has a place of honor at the exhibit, which also takes visitors through the brewing process and explains the difference between stout and beer. The marketing of Guinness over the years is chronicled, including the famous tag line, "Guinness is good for you," which fell into dishonor, but which should now be re-activated, given the news about alcohol's beneficial effects in preventing heart attacks. Since 10 million glasses are enjoyed in 151 countries every day, people are certainly voting with their taste buds on that issue. There are, of course, several bars on the premises where you can enjoy a pint of Guinness, or even tea if you're so inclined, along with light meals. The "piece de resistence," however is the rooftop Gravity Bar, where you can have a spectacular view of the city, while enjoying your complimentary "perfect pint," and trading notes with devotees from Germany, China and all points in between. Another popular attraction is the Guinness store, selling all kinds of cool Guinness memorabila, from hats and t-shirts, to slippers and computer pads. For further information,log on to www.guinness.com. To learn more about Dublin, you can go to the city's tourism site, www.visitdublin.com. And for information on getting to Ireland, go to www.tourismireland.com. Enjoy!

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