A toast to Arthur Guinness can help social entrepreneurs

22 Sep 2011

Ireland rugby player Shane Horgan and Niamh Farrell from the band The Danger, as the duo 'Check In' for Arthur's Day at Dublin's oldest pub, The Brazen Head

Where will you be today at 17:59? Use your smartphone, be it in Dublin or Boston, Galway or Rome, Belfast or Jakarta, Cork or Jamaica, to help raise a toast to the original philanthropist and visionary Arthur Guinness, and support the Arthur Guinness Fund.

Today, 22 September at 17:59 local time – in tribute to Guinness, who first set up shop in the now-landmark Guinness premises at St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin in 1759 – people all over the globe will be celebrating Arthur’s Day.
By joining the festivities today either in person or via their smartphones, people will also be helping to support the Arthur Guinness Fund, which supports social entrepreneurs who make a difference to the lives of the people in their local communities across the island of Ireland.

In a marketing move deploying social media, Guinness says people have the option to ‘Check In’ with Guinness via Facebook Places using their smartphones. For every ‘Check-In’ to a pub via Facebook, Guinness will donate €5 to the Arthur Guinness Fund, up to a maximum of €500,000.

The Diageo-owned brand says people without smartphones can text ‘RAISE’ to the text number provided in pubs on the night.

Social innovators

All ticket proceeds from Arthur’s Day will benefit the Arthur Guinness Fund. To date, 20 Irish social entrepreneurs have received funding from the Arthur Guinness Fund, with a total of €1.65m distributed since 2010.

It was in 1755, having been bequeathed £100 (Irish punt) from his godfather (Arthur Price – the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Cashel) that Guinness set up the original Guinness brewery in Leixlip, Co Kildare. (Coincidentally Leixlip is now home to another global giant – Intel, which set up its manufacturing plant there on a 360-acre former stud farm – see more on Intel at end of article)

Then, in 1759, he saw an opportunity to move the business to St James’s Gate. At the time, he took out a 9,000-year lease on the four-acre premises at an original rent of £45 (Irish punt) per annum. 

Bands rocking around Ireland

As the clock strikes 17:59 locally around the world, people are set to join the celebrations.

Bands such as Scissor Sisters and Stereophonics will be rocking Dublin in tune with those celebrating with a glass of Guinness, while Scottish-Italian singer Paolo Nutini is sure to add a glow to the Guinness Storehouse atmosphere as he headlines there this evening.

In Ireland, the celebrations have grown to include ticketed events in four hub cities, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Belfast, while celebrations will also take place in more than 1,500 pubs across Ireland.

Obama and the Guinness effect

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama take a sip of Guiness in Monegall, Ireland on 23 May 2011

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama learn how to pull a pint in a pub in Moneygall, Ireland, on 23 May 2011

It was back on 23 May 2011 when US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama had a pint and a glass respectively of the black stuff while on a one-day visit to Ireland during his European tour, with the images of the occasion in a pub in Moneygall, Co Offaly (Moneygall is Obama’s ancestral home) being flashed all over the world, helping to raise the profile of both Guinness and Obama.

The Guinness toast from Obama was a new beginning for Ireland, as it was for Obama, who had returned to his Irish heritage, when he visited the birthplace of his great-great-great grandfather Falmouth Kearney from his mother’s side in Moneygall, and connected with living distant relatives. Kearney himself emigrated from Moneygall to New York in 1850.

Later that day, to a crowd of thousands on College Green in Dublin, across from Trinity College Dublin, Obama’s speech ‘Yes we Can! or ‘Is Féidir Linn!’ struck a positive chord, not only with Irish-Americans living all over the world but also with people living in Ireland who had been downtrodden in recent years, beleaguered with hard news of job losses and difficult budgets as a result of the recession, when terms such as ‘double-dip’, ‘bailout’, ‘NAMA’ and ‘default’ had become part of the daily lexicon.

More on Intel in Kildare, Ireland

Intel’s Leixlip plant, the location of the Intel Fab 10 and Fab 24 semiconductor wafer fabrication facilities, now employs 4,000 people. Back in January, Intel announced it would be creating an additional 200 jobs over the next two years (as well as 850 construction jobs) as a result of a new US$500m construction project at its Leixlip campus. The news was hailed by IDA Ireland CEO Barry O’Leary at the time, for being a welcome boost for high-end manufacturing in Ireland.)

Intel first announced it was coming to Ireland in 1989.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic