The Daily Spud

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1759, A Very Good Year

I think that Guinness drinkers the world over would agree that 1759, the year in which Arthur Guinness signed the hugely optimistic 9,000 year lease on the St. James’s Gate Brewery, was, by their reckoning, a very good year. Apparently 1969 wasn’t a bad year either, at least as far as one particular Guinness drinker was concerned. As this photograph will attest, my Dad got a large bottle of Guinness for his birthday that year from his clearly very clued-in children (whose ranks, at that stage, I was yet to join).

Guinness, the best birthday present a Dad could get

Guinness, the best birthday present a Dad could get

Now that Guinness is turning 250, the question is, what will Guinness be giving us for its birthday? Slightly more than a few large bottles of the black stuff, as it turns out, though I can tell you now that my Dad would be happiest celebrating Arthur’s big birthday by downing a pint of porter in the local pub. I guess Guinness are hoping that he, along with millions of others, will do exactly that. They have nominated September 24th as the day and 17:59 as the hour at which to raise a global toast to Arthur and his legacy. But that is just the beginning.

Guinness 250

The rest of September 24th will be filled with lots of musical happenings around Dublin, much of it in pubs which will play host, in some cases, to some big name acts (Darragh has a full rundown over on culch.ie). The main thing that you need to know is that the tickets go on sale via ticketmaster on July 23rd, and, at €9 for pub venues and €17.59 for the larger studio venues, they are, by Dublin standards, as cheap as chips. Plus all proceeds go to a newly established and, by all accounts, very charitable Arthur Guinness fund.

Nice one, Arthur, but what of the Spud?

Though it’s a while since my student days – of which Guinness drinking and the acquisition of Guinness paraphernalia while under the influence of Guinness were a feature – I will, no doubt, mark the occasion, though not in an eyeing-up-the-Guinness-glasses-and-thinking-how-good-they-would-look-in-my-house kind of way. We are at that stage in our relationship, Guinness and I, where they will ply me with oysters while simultaneously filling my ears with the low-down on Arthur’s Day. In fact, I think they would have given me a few pint glasses if I’d asked.

So, for my own I’m-not-a-student-anymore Arthur’s Day, I reckon that some of my Guinness Gratin will be in order, perhaps followed by some of Murphy’s brown bread & Guinness ice cream, topped off with a generous slather of Jenni’s stout toffee sauce. There might even be room for some of Nigella’s chocolate Guinness cake later and then maybe, just maybe, I will have to do the right thing and honour, in equal measure, both Arthur and my father with a pint of plain, yer only man.

22 Comments

  1. I’m honored that my sauce makes the cut for the Bisesquicentenial Celebrations. I’ll join you in spirit on September 24 to help celebrate.

    PS Don’t forget to add some salt to Nigella’s cake–it will thank you!

  2. Your first line has to be one of the BEST lead-ins I have read all year! And I absolutely concur that 1969 was a spectacular year (my birthyear, natch).

    September 24th has been reserved on the calendar and I may simply follow your menu lead; I couldn’t possibly pass up on ice cream made with Brown Bread and Guinness – two tastes that I happily acquired traipsing across Ireland (well, driving through impossibly narrow roads with no signage, across Ireland).

  3. What a great way to celebrate! Your Guinness gratin sounds marvelous. We will have to join you in raising our glasses high on Sept. 24th

  4. I’ll be celebrating here in Austin, wearing my Guiness shirt, playing cards with my Guiness deck, setting glasses on my Guiness coasters. Couldn’t help collecting those items as a tourist in Dublin last fall. Your gratin looks great too. I may have to try that while celebrating too!

  5. Wow, 250! I would love to share in that celebration. We did the typical Guinness Storehouse touristy tour while we were there on our first visit. I have to say that the whole story of its creation is intriguing.

    We are always having both Irish and Guinness influences around us it seems. The owner of the company my husband works for is from Ireland and used to work for Guinness. The plant manager of where he is working in Brazil is Irish as well. I must say I love your culture, your food and especially your drink. There is nothing like a Guinness in Ireland. It just doesn’t taste the same anywhere else. :)

  6. I’ll drink to that. I like myself a good pint of Guinness every one in a while. Heck I’ll have two on the day of. That’s an interesting fact about the brewery. They’ll be there for a long LONG time. Makes me happy.

  7. Call me when the Guinness Gratin is ready, Spud, I’ll be right over!

  8. A Guinness pot luck would be a wonderful way to celebrate! Stout toffee sauce? How heavenly!

  9. You and your Guinness! How did we forget to put back a pint when we were in SF? Charming as always. GREG

  10. An adorable story, and pic! I remember the Guinness infused meals I had in Ireland, and boy were they great!

  11. Daily Spud

    Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Jenni: your stout toffee sauce is a worthy addition to the celebrations I reckon, and I will add that salt to Nigella’s cake, promise!

    Tangled Noodle: why thank you – and given that ’69 was your birth year, well that by definition makes it a very good one! As for the ice cream, you might have to make it even before Sept 24th, for ice cream social purposes, you understand…

    Phoo-D: absolutely – the more glasses raised, the merrier!

    lisaiscooking: thanks – I reckon it’s probably difficult not to pick up Guinness memorabilia when you’re here. Glad to hear you’ll be putting it to good use :)

    Lori: we are given to saying that Guinness doesn’t travel well. It certainly tastes different (and for different read better) here than elsewhere. I have heard, though, that in certain other countries which have local Guinness breweries, your chances of getting a good pint are much improved – the Guinness in Nigeria is apparently quite good!

    jenn: I think that there are a lot of people who would share your sentiments :)

    Diva: will do!

    Reeni: yep, there are lots of Guinness-filled things that you could bring to the party

    Sippity Sup: how did we miss that? oh well, I’ll just look on that as a good excuse to meet again!

    Chef E: Guinness can infuse a lot of things when you’re visiting this country :)

  12. On my one and only trip to Dublin I did tour the brewery and I must say the Guinness at top with the Dublin view was the best I ever had. My hubby even got a certificate that says he poured the perfect pint!

    When I was growing up we had a fridge in the basement. My dad only allowed guinness in it (he’s 1/2 irish). We’ve since moved and no longer have a basement and my mother has taken over the extra fridge. Don’t think dad is too happy about that.

    ps Walking around Spain sounds lovely with all this crap weather we’ve had in London. I’ve got a Barcelona and San Sebastian trip planned for August!

  13. Oh my goodness, all this talk of Guinness recipes has me so hungry. I love the Guinness gratin and of course the ice cream is incredible. Just plop me in a corner somewhere and I’d be happy!

  14. Daily Spud

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 10:31 am

    gastroanthropologist: a Guinness fridge? now there’s real dedication to Arthur’s cause! Hope you enjoy Barcelona & San Sebastian – though, truth be told, I think it would probably be difficult not to enjoy them.

    OysterCulture: I’m sure that you’ll find plenty of Guinness and plenty of corners in which to plop yourself when you’re here in September :)

  15. Wow, that YouTube vid is from the stage version of Flann O’Brien’s 1939 novel At Swim Two Birds. I’d love to know if you can get a dvd copy of that production, anyone any ideas?

    Also, Brendan Gleeson is currently looking to produce a film version of the novel with all the usual Irish suspects in line to star. However, if Brian and Brian have their way, if will probably be shoved in the bin along with the film board so they’ll prob never get enough funding – boo! Maybe Guiness will donate some funding …….

  16. Daily Spud

    Monday, July 27, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Gosh – no idea if there’s a dvd of that production available. I’d heard the rumour about Brendan Gleeson looking to produce a film version of At Swim Two Birds – will be interesting to see if that happens. Meanwhile, I think I’m just going to have to go back & read the book again now!

  17. Your dad looks right at home with that bottle of guinness. I’m across the pond in Scotland in the centre of whisky country so you can guess what my preferred tipple is :-)

  18. Daily Spud

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 1:59 am

    UK Business Franchises: Hi there and thanks for stopping by. Y’know, my Dad always looked at home with a bottle of Guinness. And having just been to Scotland recently myself, I have absolutely no trouble in guessing that your preferred tipple might be a wee dram of golden liquid… :)

  19. hehe Exactly! I’m over in Morayshire so we have distilleries everywhere. You can do the Whisky trial by bus, gaining a dram at each stop. Quite the fuzzy head by the end of it!

  20. Daily Spud

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Whisky trail? Sounds delicious and dangerous in equal measure!

  21. A Guiness for birthday :) ? Nice old times.

  22. Hey Apró – Guinness makes a very good birthday present in this case!

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