something new: the smithwick’s pint glass

the smithwick's pint glass: my favorite and least expensive ireland souvenir (day 7 of the 30 day photo challenge: something new)

At the start of this story, we had been in Ireland for six days, so I had tried multiple wonderful Irish beers. My favorite (along with Guinness) was Smithwick’s, with its golden red hue, flavorful crispness, and smooth texture. This sixth night of our trip was spent in the town of Ennis, where we ate a delicious dinner in a pub restaurant.

When they brought my brother a pint of Smithwick’s in a beautiful glass, I said to my dad, “I need one of those.” My dad collects beer glasses on trips, and though they are quite fragile, they make wonderful souvenirs. When Ben had finished his pint, I examined the glass: the white, red, and gold printing on the side, the raised glass letters along the base of the glass spelling “SMITHWICK’S” in all caps, and the raised glass castle and “1710” on the very bottom of the glass as a reward for finishing a pint. I concluded my inspection with a, “that’s the coolest glass ever!” and carried it up to the counter.

I summoned my courage and got the bartender’s attention.
“Excuse me,” I began feebly, holding the beer-laced glass in my hand. “My dad and I collect beer glasses, and this one’s really cool… I was wondering if you could sell me one?”
He took the glass from me and looked it over.
“Well, I can’t sell you one.” He paused, and I nodded and began to turn away when he started, “But I could give you one.”
I looked up, delighted, and he dried off a clean glass and handed it to me. I earnestly thanked him and kept it safe.

I wrapped it in layers of clothing and towels and hand-carried it onto the plane, keeping such a watchful eye on it that I think I made my fellow passengers nervous. But at last, my lovely glass is home safe and sound – my favorite (and least expensive!) souvenir.

This photo is part of oh so lovely’s 30 Day Photo Challenge. Today is Day 7: Something New.

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9 Responses

  1. Derek says:

    HA! I came across your blog while scouring the web trying to buy these glasses, because the EXACT same thing happened to me earlier this summer. I agree that they are absolutely the coolest glasses ever, and I don’t even drink that much.

    I was visiting Ireland in June, and since I have always preferred Smithwick’s to Guinness, that was my drink of choice. As soon as I was served one of these glasses, I vowed to look high and low in every gift shop to bring some home. I’m not a collector, a drunk, or even Irish, but I was totally smitten with this glass. Finally (on the 6th day, oddly), I was in a pub in Dublin and asked the bartender if he knew where to buy them, considering there’s a Guinness pint glass section in every store in Ireland. He said, “No, I don’t think ya can buy them anywhere. But I could give it to ya.” I was very happy, especially when he refilled the one I had and went back and got me a clean one. He even wrapped it up for me for safekeeping. (I wonder if he’s related to your bartender, they seem awfully similar) Needless to say, he got a considerable tip, I didn’t care that Irish protocol says that bartenders don’t like to be tipped.

    So, I’ve been looking to buy more, somewhere, anywhere, because I’m aware of my clumsiness and that my free glass’ lifespan is limited. If nothing else, my search has led me to your blog, which has reminded me what a small world we live in. I’m originally from NW PA, and I fly into Cleveland quite often. I sympathize with the cold and gray. I’m not crafty at all, but I have friends who are, and I’ll direct them your way. Back to the search…

    • Sam says:

      Wow Derek, thanks for the great comment! That makes me so excited that you have a similar story… Ireland is such a great place, and this really is the best beer glass I’ve ever seen. I hope your glass lasts a long time, and I wish you luck on your quest!

  2. Tony says:

    These are indeed the coolest pint glasses ever! We were in Ireland 2 years ago (prior to the redesign of the Smithwick’s logo and introduction of these glasses for their 300th anniversary) so I missed out on having a similar story – as Smithwick’s is my beer of choice (so glad it is available here in the States) I have seen these glasses in local Irish pubs and may have to try and duplicate your approach. Must have one!!

  3. Gale says:

    This totally bums me out. We were in ireland in early June and my husband was similarly excited about these glasses. I was hoping to buy him a set of them for Christmas but haven’t found any online. Am I totally out of luck??

    • Sam says:

      I’m so sorry Gale! I hope you can find one! If not, you’ll just have to go back ;) As if you needed an excuse!

  4. Geo the Sane says:

    Very similar story, visited Ireland, loved LOVED Smithwick’s, but I actually left Ireland w/o a glass. Then lo and behold I recieved an email from someone I met at a bar after entirely too many Smittick’s, and this gentleman sent me mine! I would like to see them become more commercially available, because I would love a set of them!


  5. Anthony says:

    We just returned from a weeklong trip to Ireland. Similar to the previous posts, we drank Guinness and Smithwick’s almost exclusively. I came upon the beloved pint glass in a pub in Adare, and again and again as we sampled pub after pub ending up in Dublin. We were with another family, and we both loved the glasses. We smuggled one out (we were in a hotel restaurant at the time and the bartender was no where to be found) and brought it back to the hotel room. I was hoping for a pair, but when we were scheming to procure an additional one, my 13 and 11 year old daughters shook their heads in disappointment at our outright theft. They also could not fathom how we could be so obsessed with a pint glass. We left that one in the pub, but was comforted in the fact that had we at least had one for home as a souvenir.

    When we were on the plane home, and I mentioned how happy I was that we have at least one of the lovely pint glasses, my wife and daughter informed me that they left it in the hotel room purposely because they felt guilty.

    I’m going to have to go back and just ask for one from the bartender, I guess!

    I have been scouring the internet as well and can’t believe they are not available. Smithwick’s is missing out on a great marketing opportunity. If anyone has found a place to purchase them, please share it with us! thx

  6. Samantha says:

    Oh no! What a story! That poor lonely pint glass! Hopefully you will have the opportunity to find another. From the number of Google searches that hit this page, a Smithwick’s glass smuggler would make a killing on ebay!

    When it comes to cool, can’t-leave-it-behind pint glasses, my first approach is always to ask if I can buy it. The pubs certainly break glasses all the time, so they usually don’t mind if the glasses disappear. This means I usually get one of three responses: I’ll either pay $2-3, or they give me a glass for free, or they whisper “I won’t notice if it’s gone.” Of course, there’s the occasional flat-out no. But it always feels like a better win when it’s guilt-free!

    Good luck and I’m sure you’ll find it again :)

  7. Laura Saleh says:

    OMG! This is the glass! We too were in Ireland for a long weekend while my daughter was looking at colleges. My 2 oldest sons came with because they could and why not? They too fell in love with Smithwicks and while on a trip to the Wicklow mountains we stopped in a pub for lunch. My son Mark fell in love with the above glass. Not having the same gift of gab as his mother, he was reluctant to ask to buy the glass as I suggested. So I approached the bartender with Mark at my side and asked to purchase a glass. We too were offered the glass free of charge and told to “drink in good health”. Alas, the memory was literally crushed when the glass was accidentally knocked over and broke when we got home. I have been searching for over a year to surprise Mark and have met the same brick walls. Agreed that Smithwicks could make a bundle in the USA if they marketed these glasses. If anyone finds a way short of another trip across the pond I would be first in line to purchase!

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