By: Connor Lenahan
On the cab ride over, our driver told us about the Guinness Storehouse. This location, the brewery for Guinness, was the top tourist attraction in Dublin. In fact, it was the top tourist attraction in all of Ireland.
This was both shocking and not. Given the amount of signage around the parts of Dublin I have walked thus far into the trip, it is entirely understandable that this would be a destination visit. However, it was shocking that this ranks #1. Obviously this is just coming from a cab driver, but still, he said this with a confidence that I would not question.
This designation rang in my ears as I sprinted down the stairs of the brewery and out the door.
My family and I had made our way over to take a tour of the brewery earlier this afternoon. We walked through the tour looking at the process of how the signature brew of Ireland is concocted. This was a great deal of fun, as the tour is dually descriptive and interesting.
After this was done we made our way to the gift shop of the Guinness Storehouse while fighting through throngs of people who were either consciously not paying attention or a pint or five in on the afternoon.
With my mom in line for purchasing a few Guinness t-shirts and my brothers looking around the expansive gift shop on the floor, my dad and I walked back to the elevator to get some fresh air.
That’s when the lights started to flicker. A second or so later they were off. I assumed they’d pop back on. They did not.
I looked across the way from where we were at the gift shop. No lights. It was a blackout.
My dad and I were separated from my brothers and parents. Between the five of us, only two were capable of making phone calls – my parents. A few minutes earlier I would have been able to text my brothers, but since the blackout killed the WiFi in Guinness this handcuffed my brothers and I.
After waiting for the mass of patrons to head down the stairs and out of the brewery, my dad and I fought down the thankfully single floor of stairs and out the door. Once outside we were only seconds away from being reunited as the five of us. We then walked out of the Guinness neighborhood and back towards civilization.
The brewery was not alone. For blocks there was no power. Street lights were off and stores were black. There were sirens ringing in the streets.
While my brothers and my parents were a bit rocked by the experience and the brief separation, I kept a level head. A small part of this was because I knew it was simply a blackout and not anything more frightening. Part was thanks to my history of springing into action when things go wrong, like when I broke my leg last year.
Those were minuscule in comparison to my primary thought. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Again, this is the largest tourist destination in the country. My dad had made the comparison that this would be like if suddenly Disney World stopped being Disney World. This is the complete opposite of normality for a place of this size and social cache.
I just happened to be in the building, in Dublin, in Ireland, at the exact moment that the largest tourist attraction on the island decided to stop working. I had to evacuate a landmark. This is like having to sprint away from the Lincoln Monument.
I’ve had a ton of very odd things happen to me, especially since I started writing Unbreakable every day in January 2014, but this is something else. There are way too many balls being juggled. Too many plates spinning. This is some transcendent oddity.
And yet, I stood in the suddenly sleeping factory and laughed. “Of course.” There was no other way for the tour to finish. Things aren’t supposed to go normally for me.
And I love that.
Connor Lenahan (@ConnorLenahan) is a sophomore at Boston University, majoring in journalism.