Arthur Guinness was the founder of the Guinness brewery business, an entrepreneur, visionary and philanthropist. Guinness laid the foundations for the Guinness Brewery. At 27, in 1752, Guinness’s godfather Arthur Price, Archbishop of Cashel, bequeathed him £100 in his will. Guinness put the money to good use and in 1755 had a brewery at Leixlip, just 17 km from Dublin. In 1759, Guinness went to the city and set up his own business. He got a 9,000 year lease on the four-acre brewery at St. James’s Gate from Mark Rainsford for an annual rent of £45.
In 1761 he married Olivia Whitmore in St. Mary’s Church, Dublin (now currently The Church Cafe Bar Restaurant), and they had 21 children, 10 of whom lived to adulthood. From 1764 they lived at Beaumont House, now part of Beaumont Convalescent Home, between Santry and Raheny in north Co Dublin. Three of his sons were also brewers, and his other descendants eventually included missionaries, politicians and authors.
He was buried in his mother’s family plot at Oughter Ard in Co Kildare in January 1803.
Guinness supported Henry Grattan in the 1780s and 1790s, not least because Grattan wanted to reduce the tax on beer. He was one of the four brewers’ guild representatives on Dublin Corporation from the 1760s until his death. Like Grattan, Guinness was publicly in favour of Catholic Emancipation from 1793, but was not a supporter of the United Irish during the 1798 rebellion.
As an enlightened entrepreneur, from the outset Arthur Guinness established his commitment to improving the lives of people in communities where Guinness did business.
To further honour the Arthur Guinness legacy, Guinness and Co. established the Arthur Guinness Fund. The aim of the internal fund was set up to enable and empower individuals with skills and opportunities to deliver a measured benefit to their communities.