The Arthur Guinness Story
Celbridge is where the Guinness story begins
Arthur Guinness, founder of the famous Guinness brewery
at Saint James’s Gate in Dublin, was born in Celbridge in 1725 and lived there
for 30 years.
The inventor of probably the world’s greatest beer, and Ireland’s most famous
export, is commemorated by a life-size bronze sculpture in the heart of the
Created by local artist Jarlath Daly, it’s the only one of its kind anywhere in
Did you know that an archbishop helped to invent Guinness?
Arthur's father, Richard Guinness, came to
Celbridge as household agent to Dr Arthur Price, vicar of Celbridge and builder
of Oakley Park House (1724), later Archbishop of Cashel. Shortly afterwards,
Richard married a local farmer's daughter, Elisabeth Read, who, in common with
all women at that time, had the skill of brewing. In 1722 Dr Price bought
Carberry’s malt house. This became the home of Richard and Elizabeth and it was
here that their son Arthur was born in 1725. He was named after the vicar, who
also was Arthur’s godfather and who left him £100 in his will, which the young
entrepreneur used to set up his first brewery in nearby Leixlip. It was
from these beginnings that the Guinness brewing empire began. In 1759
Arthur Guinness moved his brewing enterprise to the site of a very run-down
brewery in St James's Street in Dublin. The rest is history.
A new 21st-century phase is now being added to the
brewing heritage of Celbridge with the opening of a major craft brewery the
‘Rye River Brewery’ and visitor centre at Donaghcumper on the Dublin Road.
Did you know that Arthur Guinness is buried a few km from his birthplace?
Arthur Guinness died in 1803 at the age of 78.
The master brewer and pioneer of enterprise now rests in a stone-walled
hillside churchyard at Oughterard, a 15 minute drive from Celbridge, under an
ancient round tower. This
Early Christian monastic site is where Saint Bríga (Brigid) founded a monastery
in the 6th century. The early Irish manuscripts, or Annals, record
that Viking marauders under Sitric Silkenbeard burnt down the monastery in 995.
Now a very peaceful place in a rural setting of outstanding natural beauty,
Oughterard is the final stage on a heritage route tracing Arthur’s earlier life
from nearby Leixlip, his first brewery site, through his Celbridge birthplace,
to the Grand Canal - for many decades a transport route for the famous ‘black
stuff’ – on to this, his final
destination, to join his mother Elizabeth Read, and her people.
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