Friday 25 September 2009

Arthur's Day

1759 was when Arthur Guinness established his brewery, world famous in the world for the velvety stout; and 250 years later, on 24 September at 17:59, Guinness aficionados all joined together to raise a pint to Arthur.

"Don't grab!" snapped the barmaid, struggling under the weight of a tray with 8 full - and free - glasses, as the time approached and some people were still empty-handed. One minute to six, a count-down and then, "To Arthur!" - across Dublin, Ireland and even the world. It was a stirring moment in the annals of mass advertising.

Arthur Guinness gave Dublin much more than a smooth pint of porter: on a long ramble around the streets today with Pat Liddy, the last in our series of knowledgeable enthusiasts, we saw many of the pies in which the Guinness family had a finger. We also ate one - with the stout in it, not any fingers - served by Jamie, from Christchurch.

And later that night I stood on the ferry, watching Ireland slip away into the dark as so many emigrants did 160 years ago, on the way to Liverpool and beyond.

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