We took a tour of the Guinness storehouse in Dublin, Ireland, last Monday (December 21st). I highly recommend the Guinness tour, as it is great fun, and relatively inexpensive considering that it comes with free beer. Now up until two weeks ago, I disliked the taste of alcohol, and most especially hated the taste of beer. But after having spent some time in Europe, I've managed to develop a taste for various wines, and now even beer. Apparently, all the beers that I've tried previously were cheap and of poor quality, and were therefore not particularly good. While at the Guinness factory, I easily polished off a pint of Guinness draft in record time; a stark contrast to my previous attempts with beer, which usually ended up with me retching after one sip.
After finishing the tour, we went up to the top floor of the storehourse, where the gravity bar is, to enjoy our free pint of Guinness. The bar has glass walls and offers a great birds-eye view of Dublin. We weren't at the bar long however, before we happened to notice that the view behind us was being obscured by huge clouds of gray smoke. We wondered briefly about the origins of the smoke, but being tourists, we quickly dismissed it as probably being normal to Dublin (Maybe someone should tell Copenhagen? I dunno...). A few minutes later, one of the bartenders made an announcement, since apparently several people had asked her about the smoke, saying that everything was under control, that we had nothing to worry about, and that nothing was wrong. She made similar annoucements two more times. After the third announcement, she proceded to lead the bar's occupants in a cheerful Irish song. Now, when a young child vehmently assures their parents that they have done nothing wrong and have been perfectly angelic, the child's parents will imediately start checking the integrity of all breakable items in the house. Much in the same way, we knew something was amiss.
After leaving the factory, we uncovered the truth behind the mystery of the billowing grey clouds: one of the Guinness storehouses had caught fire. Fortunately, it was only an old empty storehourse and nobody was hurt in the blaze, but most importantly, no beer was lost in the fire. Many of the tourguides, bar tenders, waiters, and other Irish locals that we met later on in Ireland, expressed to us their distress of the Guinness storehouse fire. Everyone seemed especially glad that none of the beer had been burned in the fire. I imagine though, that if the blaze hadn't been contained as successfully and had spread to occupied storehouses, December 21st would have attained Sabbath-like importance and would have been remembered in Ireland as the day Guinness caught fire. And then I could have told people, "I was there."