Re: Re: Guinness History ?

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Anonymous
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Regarding the interesting critique that Morlan provided, it is in fairness a bit one-sided. True that during British rule the Guinness’s were staunch unionists, and also that work practices at the plant were predisposed to promotion of protestants over catholics. However that is not the whole story. I think to balance, it’s worth bearing in mind some of what the Guinness family have given to the city and country, both then and now which IMO marked them out one of the more benevolent families, even if it was then (1880s>) in line with the then Tory policy of “Killing Home Rule with Kindness”, or today where family members have continued to make a good contribution to Irish society.

One example albeit a little known fact is that today family members are still involved voluntarily in running as a benevolent trust the Iveagh Trust buildings at Bride St, Ross Street, and Kevin St. Like all families, different members have different interests, but it is notable that there is a common theme of cultural contribution to the wider society; Rupert has a steam museum open to the public at Straffan, Garech de Brun leaves his estate at Lugalla open for public to walk to Lough Dan, while Desmond with his then wife Mariga were key to resurrecting the IGS, and both documenting and saving shed loads of Georgian buildings. Those saved included Tailors’ Hall, strategic interventions such as Mountjoy Square, while Castletown House was in the process of being acquired so as to be used as hardcore for road building. (With Castletown, it was only relatively recently that Desmond sold it to the state at effectively cost-price; this at a time when others may have simply tried to profit from developing the grounds, such as what happened at Carton).

If one goes back a few generations to the Victorian period it’s worth noting that St. Stephen’s Green was only reopened to the public in 1877 at both the initiative and the expense of A.E. Guinness, (who lived at St. Anne’s, Raheny and at Ashford Castle). A.E. G. also paid for laying out the Green in approximately its current form, which took place in 1880, and gave it to the Corporation as representatives of the people. By way of thanks the city commissioned a statue of him which faces the College of Surgeons.

A.E.’s brother Edward lived at Iveagh House, which in 1939 his descendants gave in to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs; matching the House is of course another wonderful park, The Iveagh Gardens.

And then there was the slum clearance of what were then some of Dublin’s most notorious slums on Patrick St/ Bride St – and where today stands the Iveagh Trust Buildings, thus bringing my points full circle to where I began. So while there may be validity to the points made in the above thesis, and perhaps other negative points too such as how Guinness’s invented the armoured car in 1916 assisting the Brits to defeat the rebels, I think the above piece left without context does that family an injustice…Hope I haven’t banged on too much 🙂

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