The Home(s) of Guinness
For so many visitors to Ireland, imbibing a pint of ‘the back stuff’ is a quintessential part of their vacation.
It therefore comes as no surprise that the Guinness Storehouse is the most popular ‘paying visitor attraction’ annually.
But who were the Guinnesses and what are their stories? In short, The Guinness family were an aristocratic Anglo-Irish family noted for their achievements in brewing (obviously!), banking and politics.
These few words are not meant to be in any way definitive though will give you some insights into other places associated with the Guinness family.
The Guinness Storehouse
Even if it is teeming with tourists, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse is as educational as it is enjoyable. Even for head of state, a visit there is usually on their schedule as it was during Queen Elizabeth’s historic visit to Ireland in 2011.
Dublin – St. Stephen’s Green
Staying in Dublin, many visitors stroll through St. Stephen’s Green. Few strollers realise that this elegant city park was laid out in its current form in the 1880s, financed by Lord Ardilaun (Sir A E Guinness) and gifted to the people of Dublin. Prior to this, the park was private and restricted to the residents of St. Stephens Green.
Dublin – Iveagh House
On the south side of St. Stephens Green lies the elegant Iveagh House which is home to the Irish Foreign Ministry, The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Formerly, the house was owned by Benjamin Guinness and gifted to the Irish state in 1939. Entry is restricted to diplomats, visiting dignitaries and civil servants.
Dublin – Farmleigh House
Farmleigh is the official Irish state guest house located in the Phoenix Park. The house was owned by the Guinness family right up to 1999. When not being used by visiting dignitaries or government business, the house is open to the public, free of charge.
Mayo – Ashford Castle
A castle was originally built in 1228 on the site of the current Ashford Castle. The elegant castle resort you visit today was purchased in 1852 and developed by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness. However, it was his son, Lord Ardilaun, who expanded the castle further in the neo-gothic style. An avid gardener, Lord Ardilaun, oversaw the planting of the woodlands.
Today, Ashford Castle is a most sought after 5* hotel resort. Where better to sample a pint of Guinness!
Kildare – And Finally…..Arthur’s Resting Place
Few if any Dubliners could tell you where Arthur Guinness is buried. For the intrepid visitor, it is worth making the trip to nearby Celbridge in County Kildare. In the small cemetery known as Oughterard, you will find his burial place. The cemetery is not signposted so ask locally for directions. Sadly, the cemetery is somewhat neglected reminding us of James Shirley’s poem that death is indeed is the great leveller.
It’s worth making this trip as it can be your excuse to visit, dine or indeed stay at the nearby Lyons Estate.