March of Memories Chapter V: Guinness

My study abroad orientation group, sharing our first Ireland tourist experience.

My study abroad orientation group, sharing our first Ireland tourist experience.

March is FINALLY OVER! While I love the holidays and enjoy winter for what it is, by the end of it I am always yearning for spring with such emotion that I truly believe in the existence of Seasonal Affective Disorder. We have had quite a winter here in the Northeast, and March, as the transition from winter to spring, has felt especially endless.

It isn’t all bad though. March has always brought back wonderful memories of my time studying abroad in Ireland. Maybe because it is the month of shamrocks, maybe because March was the “sweet spot” of the five months I spent there, maybe just because I feel like getting nostalgic. I can hardly believe that five years have passed. So much has happened since, but in many quiet moments I still go back to some of those wonderful memories. In this post, I’ll recount the fifth of my top five Ireland memories.

My first Guinness!

My first Guinness!

People who know me are probably surprised to see this. I actually don’t like Guinness at all. I actually don’t even like beer that much. But Guinness is just so iconic that I really don’t mind having visited the Guinness Storehouse twice. The first time was on only my second or third day in the country. The advisors from my program took my whole orientation group there, so it was my first tourist experience and one of the first things we all did together- which is probably why I remember it so fondly. In addition to exploring what is perhaps the most famous Irish beverage of all time, we were getting to know each other- cracking jokes, making memories, and forging a bond. These six friends basically became my family for the next five months. Learning about the brewing process, smelling the ingredients, and having my first taste alongside these great people made for a wonderful beginning to the semester.

View from the Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar.

View from the Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar.

When my parents and sisters came for a visit during my spring break, I was excited to bring them there. It is one of the first things you think of when a trip to Dublin is in the works. It is actually in an out of the way area kind of along a back alley, so even though I had been there just about two months before my horrid sense of direction meant that my older sister, AKA the human GPS, had to lead us. She had taken a weekend trip to Dublin during her time abroad in 2007, and remembered where everything was much better than I did. To this day I continue to be amazed at her extraordinary directional powers, but I digress. My younger sister got to have her first taste of Guinness and my dad got to imbibe in one of his all-time favorites.

My sister and I exploring what goes into a Guinness.

My sister and I during my second visit, exploring what goes into a Guinness.

Even after two visits I am still not very fond of the actual beer. But it was the backdrop for great friendships being formed and the start of a great family vacation, so for that I am grateful. Sometimes a memory is special not because of where you are or what you are doing, but because of who you are with and what it represents.

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