Alan Maxwell, Guinness Storehouse Tour Guide: Ten Questions

It took a lot of years and a lot of people telling me I should visit the Guinness Storehouse when I was in Dublin before I finally made it through those doors. And as soon as I did I was kicking myself that I hadn’t done it on earlier trips.

The most popular tourist attraction in Dublin is housed in the home of the Guinness Brewery, and packed with history and trivia about the famous brew in such an entertaining way that you don’t even have to love beer to have fun.

Here you can see the 9000-year lease for the factory land that Arthur Guinness signed for £45 in 1759, learn all about how beer is made, see some of Guinness’ clever marketing campaigns, and decide for yourself if Guinness tastes better when you drink it at the factory (I swear it does but maybe it’s all in the power of suggestion).

While I’d done self guided tours in the past, the last time I was there we were taken around by a great guide by the name of Alan Maxwell.

After showing us around Alan taught us how to pour the perfect pint in the Guinness Academy, and as we chatted over the drinking of said pints he also gave us a great tip about a Ukulele night, which I shared in my Dublin story for Escape. 

By the time our visit was over I knew I wanted to ask Alan ten questions and he was kind enough to take the time to answer. Over to you Alan…

Guinness Storehouse tour guide Alan Maxwell, image courtesy Ronan Lang

What’s the best thing about your job?

Well initially, the pride my parents felt when I told them I was a permanent Guinness employee.  Guinness has a great reputation as a fair employer in Ireland and my Mam & Dad were so proud.  Nowadays, it’s the feedback, when someone I’ve met goes to the trouble to leave some positive comments about me, it really makes me happy.  I really enjoy knowing that I affected someone’s experience of my country in a positive way.

What’s something about your role that you wish people understood? 

It’s a challenging job that requires a lot of skills, training, knowledge, motivation and discipline. Although my job is very enjoyable, there is much more behind the scenes that goes into the job than simply pouring the perfect pint.

What’s your favourite thing to do on your day off? 

Music; playing, writing & listening.  I play guitar & ukulele and find I can spend many hours lost in music and it only feels like 10 minutes.  Working in a very front facing role means you give a lot of your energy to ensure other people are having a great time.  Music really puts the focus back on what I like and what helps me.

What’s a cheap and cheerful food secret you (usually) only tell your friends? 

Use a fancy biscuit for the base of your cheesecake, most recipes suggest using a digestive biscuit but I’ve found using a nice cookie (cranberry & white chocolate is personal favourite) works much better and gives the dish a little more complexity.

If money was no object, where would you go for lunch or dinner? 

Dylan McGrath has some nice restaurants but I’d love to check out one of Heston Blumenthal’s places.

Where do you take a friend when they come to visit? 

The Phoenix Park in Dublin, the world’s 3rd largest enclosed park.  It’s an oasis of green in the middle of the city, where you can just enjoy being amongst nature, hang out with friends over a picnic or check out Dublin Zoo.

What’s the best shopping experience in town? 

I don’t like to shop to be honest.  I generally buy a new outfit each Christmas and that’ll do me. However, when I do shop, I head to North Dublin for a good value and I enjoy the character of the neighbourhood.

Is there a local tourist cliché that’s actually worth doing? 

The Guinness Storehouse, I know I work there, but there really is nothing like it in Dublin. It’s a unique experience that exceeds expectations for both locals and tourists. There’s a reason we get over 1.7 million visitors per year, it’s really good.

Is there a tourist attraction nearby that you can’t believe you still haven’t visited yourself? 

As a Guinness employee we’re pretty much up to speed with what else is on offer in the city.  However, I’ve yet to do a walking tour.  A lot of the people I meet at work mention how much fun and informative their walking tour had been so I think it’s about time I checked one out myself.


Amanda met Alan Maxwell when she travelled to Ireland as a guest of Qatar Airways and Tourism Ireland.

Heading to Ireland? You may also like to check out what it’s like to do a self drive boating holiday on the Shannon, find out why I loved taking a city break in Belfast, and put an awe inspiring great telescope and castle visit on your list of things to do.

About the Author

As a journalist who loves to travel and is fond of a chat I'm oh so happy when I'm sharing travel tales and tips through my blog and on my weekly travel segment on Sydney Radio 2UE. When I'm not travelling or writing about it I can be found out and about with friends, curled up at home with a good book or watching an addictive tv show promising I'll stop after one more episode. Amanda on Google +

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