Guinness has had a significant impact on how both tourists and locals alike enjoy Dublin. With over one million visitors a year, the Guinness Storehouse is the most popular attraction in Ireland. Along with the Storehouse, Rupert Guinness Hall, St. Stephen’s Green and Iveagh Gardens are all recreational facilities provided to the city of Dublin by the Guinness family.
The Guinness Storehouse is a former fermentation house built by Arthur Guinness Son & Co. Ltd between 1902 and 1904. In 2000, the newly converted Storehouse was opened as a seven-floor visitor center devoted to all things Guinness. Visitors are guided through the brewing experience on a tour of the building. At the top of the Storehouse sits the “Gravity Bar” which features 360 degree views of the city of Dublin.
Not far from the Storehouse on Watling Street is the Rupert Guinness Hall. Opened in 1951, the theater was named after the Second Lord Iveagh, Rupert Edward Guinness. Intended “for the various welfare, social and such like purposes for our people” (Hugh Beaver, Managing Director, March 1950), the hall hosted plays, concerts and dances for Guinness employees, for whom attendance was free. Members of the public could buy tickets that were often in high demand.
The Brewery’s Chief Engineer, W.D. Robertson, planned the theater and the Brewery’s architect R.J. Bickford carried out the work with the completed building costing £22,000. The theater could seat one hundred and twenty five people on the balcony and four hundred and seventy five in the parterre. Unfortunately, while the theater still stands, it remains empty and no longer in use.
St. Stephen’s Green was developed in the seventeenth century as part of the development of Dublin city center beyond its medieval boundaries. In 1664, walls were built around the park and it was privatized and by the end of the eighteenth century it was surrounded by Georgian houses and was accessible to those with keys.
In the 1860′s, a campaign was started by The Dublin Builder, Ireland’s leading architectural journal, to convert the park into a public facility again. In 1876, Arthur Edward Guinness purchased the park and in 1977 the “St. Stephens’ Green Act” was passed to facilitate the reopening. The park was remodeled by Sir Arthur Edward and reopened to the public in 1980. Today, St. Stephen’s Green remains one of the most popular parks in the city.
In the 19th century, Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness established the Dublin Exhibition Palace and Winter Garden Company with the intention of “providing a permanent exhibition of Irish arts and manufactures and also reading rooms, flower gardens, and a gas-lit winter garden, for public enjoyment.” In order to construct the gardens, Guinness purchased a site at St. Stephen’s Green South and commissioned landscape architect Ninian Niven to create an intermediate design between the “French Formal” and the “English Landscape” styles for the Gardens. In 1939, Rupert Guinness, the Second Earl of Iveagh, presented the Iveagh Gardens to University College, Dublin.
Have any companies in your city provided such extensive recreational facilities and legacies?
Credits: Images by Rebecca Mullen. Data linked to sources.