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What has St Stephen's Green got to do with the Guinnesses. Quite a lot actually...
What has St Stephen's Green got to do with the Guinnesses. Quite a lot actually...
Image: Photocall Ireland

What did the Guinness family ever do for us?

Forget Arthur’s Day – National Philanthropy Day will hear about the real legacy left behind by some members of the brewing family: a cathedral, a library… and bacteria get a look in too.
Nov 11th 2012, 6:00 PM 29,890 36

ARTHUR’S DAY? Perish the thought. The real legacy of the Guinness family – apart from leading to Ireland being eternally associated with a particular brand of stout – is not a faux-cultural day in September. (Although they should be given credit for the ongoing work of the Guinness Social Entrepreneur Fund)

Among some of the real initiatives taken by Arthur Guinness (grandson of the Arthur who founded St James’s Gate in 1759) in the late 19th and early 20th century included employee welfare schemes and the provision of public recreation areas.

While the brand is now owned by Diageo, the group will remember the Guinness family in a free lecture at the Storehouse next Thursday, which happens to be National Philanthropy Day. (Pre-booking is essential for the one-hour talk – email storehouseeventsadmin@diageo.com).

Evidence of the family’s philanthropic works is still visible around Dublin. The biggest givers were brothers Arthur and Edward Guinness, sons of Benjamin Guinness, and grandsons of the ‘original’ Arthur Guinness who set up the brewery at St James’s Gate in 1759.

Check how many of these you were aware of…

PICS: Arthur Guinness’s low-key final resting place>

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Susan Daly

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