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Dublin: 4 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019
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Arthur’s Day: the man himself couldn’t be here – so we paid a visit

TheJournal.ie recently paid its respects at the quiet resting place of the man of the day.

Image: TheJournal.ie

THERE IS USUALLY nothing hidden, small or low-key when it comes to Guinness.

The folk over at St. James’s Gate know how to market the barley out of their product and practically everything with a hint of the black stuff comes with a ®.

However, some true Arthur aficionados will want to treat today with a bit more reverence than just raising a pint to Martha. One option open to those in-the-know is to visit the resting place of the man himself.

Unlike other Guinness retreats, his burial ground is hidden in an un-signposted, quiet family cemetery in county Kildare.

Guinness died on 23 January 1803, aged 78. His remains lie in a vault alongside those of his deceased wife Olivia, who passed away 11 years later, and their children and grandchildren. The fading inscription on their tomb reads:

They lived universally beloved, respected and their memory will long be cherished by a numerous circle of friends, relations and descendants.

Although it’s off-the-beaten track, plenty of visitors come to pay their respects to the Guinness family. On a previous trip, this reporter found a can of Guinness and a book with a thoughtful inscription laid on the tomb, while a pack of Sweet Aftons and a bottle of Lucozade belies the abandoned feel of the place this time around.

A historic ground

The grounds of Oughterard Cemetery, which include a number of other tombs and a round tower, are cared for by locals and are under the protection of the Minister for the Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht.

Dated back to about 605 AD, the hilltop site also hosts the remains of a 14th century church and the topless round tower is thought to have been built during the 700s.

There are also a couple of other notable figures buried at the graveyard, including Darby Michael John Kennedy, who hailed from nearby Bishopscourt and was posthumously decorated for bravery having lost his life in Holland during World War II. A message on his tomb reads:

Another Irish Soldier who never made it home. R.I.P.

Arthur’s Day: the man himself couldn’t be here – so we paid a visit
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  • Arthur Guinness's Tombstone

  • Arthur Guinness's Tombstone

  • Arthur Guinness's Tombstone

  • Arthur Guinness's Tombstone

  • The entrance to Oughterard Cemetery

  • The entrance to Oughterard Cemetery

  • The walkway to the cemetery

  • General view of the cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • The stone marking the grave of a deceased soldier

  • The stone marking the grave of a deceased soldier

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • A view from the top of the crumbling structure

  • A view from the top of the crumbling structure

  • A peep through the window

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

  • Oughterard Cemetery

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