Today, the tour of the Kilmainham Gaol, the former Dublin prison, enlightened us about the last couple centuries of Irish history. The prison, which was built at the end of the 18th century, housed many an Irishman, especially through the troublin’ times of the potato famine. Also, it wasn’t always a pretty site, as it became the site of many public hangings. Through hearing about the history of Kilmainham Gaol, we also learned of the Irish struggle for independence from the United Kingdom starting mostly in 1916 and the controversial treaty that was signed in 1922 that began a very messy Irish civil war. Ireland hasn’t exactly had an easy history, and the bumps and bruises worn by this prison can tell much of it.
The other part of our educational day happens at the Guinness Storehouse. We learn of all the ingredients that go into this fine beer: barley, hops, water, and of course the propriety Guinness yeast. The barley is milled and then mixed with hot water and mashed. The grain is filtered out, the hops and barley is added, all of which is followed by the whole concoction being boiled. Arthur’s yeast is added to ferment, everything is allowed to mature for a while, and finally the beer is then packaged, shipped, and drunken. “Guinness is good for you.” ~Guinness’ slogan