Today, we ended off our week at the staple of Irish society and culture – the Guinness Storehouse. This was a great opportunity to take a walk through the history of the largest, most influential business in Ireland, and the processes of how they make their signature taste. One thing I found the most interesting was their advertising practices, how they have evolved over the years, and how they relate to the Irish culture. We stood in a dark room surrounded by video screens constantly playing through Guinness’ video ads throughout the years, all of which showed how Guinness was so much more than a drink or a simple brand – it was an experience that had the ability to bring people from all over the globe together. This is not only shown through their video ads, but also by just perusing through a wall of their old advertising campaigns throughout the years. These campaigns have also consistently adapted to the times, focusing on practices such as diversity and sustainable practices that not only helped the company improve, but society around it as well. It was an incredibly unique experience that only further served to tie together everything we have been learning about in our time here.
Next, we got to enjoy some sun and talk about our experiences with the Irish culture from a communication standpoint. I not only got to reflect on my interactions with Irish people in my free time, but also got to hear what my fellow students have been experiencing and what they have thought of their own unique experiences while interacting with the people. It is a completely different experience than we are used to in the states. I especially looked back on our time spent in restaurants after our day time travels, and how something that we thought is as simple as going out to dinner is more of an experience for the Irish. We are so used to having hostesses to greet us, seat us, and talk us through the process that when we first walked into an Irish gastropub for food and stood dumbfounded as we waited to be seated only to be told that it was up to you to seat yourself, it was like a slap in the face. We were also lost at how infrequently the waiters and waitresses would attend to you, as dinner is a 2 to 3 hour experience as compared to the in-and-out method we are so used to at home. There is definitely a huge cultural gap that I am still working on overcoming when interacting with people throughout the city, but I believe that it is a fun challenge that I am willing to continue taking on head first. I am excited to explore some of the more historic Irish culture in our excursions to Galway and Kilkenny over the weekend, and see if they offer even more insight into the Irish culture.