Located at St James’s Gate, the Guinness Factory sits on the site where Arthur Guinness set up shop with a 9,000-year lease in 1759.
There are several different Guinness Brewery tours to head off on, and we’ll take you through the best of the bunch in this guide.
You’ll also get some handy visitor info (e.g. try and visit late afternoon!) along with the history of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin and more. Dive on in!
Some quick need-to-knows before you visit the Guinness Storehouse
Although the Guinness tour is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
The Guinness factory is located slightly off Dublin’s south quays here. It’s a 15-minute walk from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a 20-minute walk from Kilmainham Gaol and very short walk from some of the best whiskey distilleries in Dublin.
2. Book online to avoid the queues
So, you can just rock up and buy tickets for the Guinness tour on the day, but you’ll likely have to queue (the queues here are often very long). So, it’s worth buying your Guinness tour tickets online in advance. More on this below.
3. Opening Hours
The Guinness factory opening hours are Sunday to Thursday, 11am-6pm (last entry 5pm), and Friday and Saturday, 11am-7pm (last entry 6pm). If you book your Guinness tour tickets online, you’ll need to pick a specific time.
5. Part of the Dublin Pass
Exploring Dublin over 1 or 2 days? If you buy a Dublin Pass for €70 you can save from €23.50 to €62.50 on Dublin’s top attractions, like the EPIC Museum, the Guinness Storehouse, The GPO, the Jameson Distillery Bow St. and more (info here).
The History of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin
When you visit the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, you’re treading on hallowed ground! It was the original site where Arthur Guinness began his brewery business in 1759.
Planning for the future, he signed a 9,000-year lease at £45 per annum and started brewing his dark porter-style ales. He used dark malt to create his stout, which was instantly a favorite with river and street porters, among other local workers.
Then things escalated
Ten years later, he decided to begin exporting, shipping a modest 6.5 barrels to England, and the rest, as they say, is history. By 1886, Guinness sales reached 1.13 million barrels a year, and the company was floated on the stock market.
That was in spite of the fact that Guinness owned no bars or pubs and refused to advertise (this changed drastically over time). The product spoke for itself.
The decline and joining up with Diageo
In the 1970s, Guinness sales had declined, so the owners had to relaunch it and introduce pale malt. The company merged with Diageo in 1997 but retained the Guinness brand’s rights and trademarked Irish harp logo.
Now, in late-2021, Guinness is a roaring success both at home and overseas. However, not all pints are equal – see our guide to finding the best Guinness in Dublin for more.
The different Guinness Storehouse tours
As I mentioned before, we’ve done the Guinness Storehouse tour several times over the years. They come in the guided (during ‘normal’ times) and self-guided form.
Having done both, I can’t recommend the guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse enough. The tour guides are brilliant, and you’ll just have a more enjoyable experience.
1. Self-guided tour with Gravity Bar (€22)
This is arguably the most popular Guinness Factory tour, as it involves polishing off your visit with a pint in the Gravity Bar.
This self-guided tour (affiliate link) costs €22 and it should take you around 1.5 hours from start to finish, depending on how long you linger. Here’s what it involves:
- A Guinness (18 +) or a soft drink in the Gravity Bar
- You get to ramble around the Guinness Brewery
- Experience Canvas D8; a summer programme of culture and art
- A guaranteed timed entrance
2. Self-guided tour with Brewery Yard (€18)
We aren’t familiar with this Guinness tour and, as it doesn’t include the Gravity Bar, we’d (personally) advise against it (the Gravity Bar really is excellent).
This version of the Guinness Factory tour costs €18 and, aside from the Gravity Bar, is pretty similar to the first tour. It includes:
- A Guinness (18 +) or a soft drink in the Brewery Yard
- You get to ramble around the Guinness Brewery
- Experience Canvas D8
- A guaranteed timed entrance
3. The Jameson + Guinness tour combo (€79)
This is a combo, skip the line ticket that includes both attractions. It starts around €79 and it includes the best of both tours. Here’s what you get:
- Timed skip the line entrance to the Jameson Distillery
- Timed skip the line entrance to the Guinness Storehouse tour
- 2 drinks (pint of Guinness + 1 Jameson)
- Photo stop outside the Brazen Head (the oldest pub in Dublin)
Things you’ll see on the Guinness Factory tour
Behind those sturdy black gates, the Guinness Storehouse offers a memorable and educational experience that any ale drinker or Guinness aficionado will remember for years to come.
1. The brewing process
Stroll through the historic Guinness Brewery, see the hops and learn about the specialist strains of yeast used in this unique brewing process. See the rushing waters that are a vital part of the Guinness brewing process.
2. Fittings from the original brewery
You’ll often see the Guinness Factory mentioned in guides to the best museums in Dublin. This puzzles some, but it is a museum of sorts.
The Storehouse is home to fixtures from the Guinness Brewery’s original days. Interestingly enough, some of these are from over 250 years ago.
3. Old-school Guinness ads
Immerse yourself in 80 years of Guinness advertising – you’ll be surprised at some of the memories it brings back! Interact with the ads and take selfies that put you in your very own Guinness ad.
4. The journey to greatness
Track the four key ingredients that go into every pint of Guinness in Ireland’s #1 tourist attraction. Once the brew is completed, learn about the coopers and the epic sea voyages that led to Guinness becoming an international brand in 150 countries.
Things to do at the Guinness Factory in Dublin
Tour aside, there are plenty of other things to do at the Guinness Storehouse that’ll make your visit an enjoyable one.
From tasting and learning to your face on a pint (yes, your face on a pint) and more, there’s a little bit of something to tickle every fancy.
1. The Tasting Experience
Moseying around the Guinness Storehouse and learning lots of interesting facts about this Irish brew is thirsty work. The Tasting Experience is a hands-on multi-sensory journey introducing visitors to this unique stout.
Pause and smell the aromas emanating from the creamy head (just like wine tasting, really!) and then sip the velvety smooth brew. Deeeeee-licious!
2. The Guinness Academy
There’s a definite art to pouring the perfect pint, and the Guinness Academy is the place to learn it for yourself.
Get behind the bar and follow instructions from the Beer Specialist on hand, who will give you some useful tips. You’ll be able to tell a bad pint of Guinness from a good one from then on!
3. The STOUTie
Within the STOUTie Room walls, guests can purchase a second glass of Guinness and see their own Selfie smiling up from the creamy head.
It’s a unique moment combining the latest technology with a little extra malt extract for a picture-perfect pint!
4. Enjoy a Pint at the Gravity Bar
The Gravity Bar is one of the most unique rooftop bars in Dublin and it’s the perfect place to linger over a pint or try one of the experimental brews.
The panoramic views through the wall of glass add to this unforgettable experience. You can also see a specially commissioned artwork by Irish street artist, Aches.
Places to visit nearby after the Guinness Factory tour
One of the beauties of the Guinness tour is that, when you’re finished, you’re a short distance away from some of the best places to visit in Dublin.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Guinness Storehouse (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Whiskey distilleries (3 to 6-minute walk)
If the Guinness tour has you thirsty for more alcohol activities, you’re in luck – some of the top whiskey distilleries in Ireland are a short walk away. Roe and Co (6-minute walk), Pearse Lyons (5-minute walk) and the Teeling distillery (15-minute walk) are all nearby.
2. Dublin’s Oldest pub (10-minute walk)
Very much the reigning champion of ancient pubs in Dublin, and by some distance! Just a 10-minute walk from the Guinness Factory and Proudly boasting on a scroll of painted parchment on the pub’s whitewashed walls that it dates back to 1198, the Brazen Head is Dublin’s oldest pub and is also one of its most popular. See our guide to the oldest pubs in Dublin for more.
3. Phoenix Park (15-minute walk)
Dominated by the 200ft tall Wellington Monument, the Phoenix Park is an enormous space and one of the largest enclosed public parks in any capital city in Europe (the Wellington Monument is also the largest obelisk in Europe!). Make the 15-minute stroll across the Liffey and up Wolfe Tone Quay to explore its vast expanse. It’s also home to Dublin Zoo and Áras an Uachtaráin.
4. Kilmainham Gaol (20-minute walk)
Infamous for being the site of incarceration for many Nationalist leaders, Kilmainham Gaol has played a hugely significant and symbolic part in Irish history and the prison is well worth a visit. Lying a 20-minute walk west of Roe and Co, former inmates include Charles Stewart Parnell, Patrick Pearse and Eamon de Valera.
FAQs about visiting the Guinness Brewery in Dublin
Since starting this website a few years ago, we’ve had endless emails asking everything from ‘How long is the Guinness factory lease?’ (9,000 years) to ‘How long is the Guinness tour?’ (around 1.5 hours)
In the section below, you’ll find information on everything from where to park to where to grab a bed for the night nearby.
How much does the Guinness tour cost?
The tour of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin costs between €18 and €22, depending on the tour type you pick.
What is the Guinness Storehouse tour Length?
The tour of the Guinness Factory in Dublin should take you around 1.5 hours to complete, but you’re in no rush.
Are the Guinness Factory tours really worth doing?
The Guinness Factor tours are some of the most popular tours in Ireland. The reviews online are excellent, but we’d recommend visiting the likes of Kilmainham Gaol, first.
Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.