Thursday, 27 September 2012

Why I'm Not Toasting Arthur

It's Arthurs Day today or at least that's what the marketing gurus at drinks giant Diageo would like us to believe.
It is, of course, a brilliant marketing ploy to get the whole country to celebrate the anniversary of the foundation of Guinness.
While Guinness is a brand that is associated with Ireland across the world, the famous St James Gate brewery is now owned by the British multi-national  Diageo which. despite sentimental advertising, is solely concerned with making profits.
True, Guinness has become  symbolic of Irish culture, of the craic that's to be found in the traditional local pub.  Decades of clever advertising...the pint balancing Toucan, the slogan 'Guinness is Good For You' which would never be allowed these days, and more recently, the tv ads, 'Tá Siad Ag Teach',  The Surfer, Micheal Fassbender swimming across the Atlantic to make up with his brother,  have etched Guinness onto the national psyche.
But should we really be celebrating an event aimed at making people drink more, given the concerns about how excessive drinking is blighting so many lives? Do we need another occasion to re-inforce the myth of the 'drunken Irish'?
And there's more.  Irish musicians Steve Wall and Declan O'Rourke have been outspoken in their criticism  of the event and the fact that while it's ostensibly a celebration of Irish culture, the  headline acts for the gigs taking place around the country are almost all from Britain,.
On a local level, we in Dundalk have little reason to celebrate Arthur's Day. Having already closed the
MacArdle Brewery, the company is now  planning to close the Great Northern Brewery or  Harp Brewery  next year, bringing to an end a centuries old brewing tradition in the town.


  1. No argument on the health issues, Mairead. None either on perceptions. Those are spot on as well. We already have March 17 where everyone the world over feels Irish for a day. I'd only say that in the USA we tried complete prohibition once... and it didn't turn out so well. At the end of the day, either a Guiness or Harp or Heinekin (I tend to be partial to the later for sentimental reasons :) is still good for medicinal reasons. Beyond that I'd agree with you entirely.

    1. Don't worry Dave, I would be in favour of prohibition! But all things in moderation.......

  2. Yes, it's a shame the once 'famous Irish brew' is no longer truly Irish and with all the troubles of alcohol it can have much heated debate about it's actual 'good for you' slogan. I do think a pint now and then has some benefits but the moderation is the key. My first weekend in Dublin, we went to Punchestown Horse Races and was quite shocked at the amount of really young people just pouring down one after the other to get wasted. How terrible that they have to learn to appreciate a good pint.

    1. Sadly it seems that the majority of young and not so young people seem to think that they have to get stoned, on either alcohol or drugs, in order to have a good time. It's a matter of real concern in Ireland now where so many simply drink to get drunk and it leads to all sorts of social and health problems.

    2. It's the curse of Scotland too - the binge-drinking culture that has us dying earlier of alcohol related illness than anywhere else in the world.
      What a dreadful boast!
      All things in moderation.
      As for the globalisation of our much-loved brands... well unfortunately it's the way of this world. That the small and local things are eaten up by the large and global.
      Maybe we have only ourselves to blame? Our High Streets die - because we flock in our thousands to the out of town malls... Our small local traditions go the same way - they get swallowed by this homogenising force. Until everything everywhere looks the same...


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