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Hello there and welcome to this weekend’s walk.

One of Irelands most iconic brands is the famous Guinness stout and its success is credited to its founder, Arthur Guinness .

Arthur Guinness started his first brewery in the town of Leixlip in 1755 and moved to St James’s gate in Dublin in 1759. Nowadays almost a million people visit the Guinness storehouse when they visit Dublin, and it’s become a “must see” when you visit Ireland.

Arthur Guinness was born in the nearby town of Leixlip on 24th September 1725 and died on the 23rd of January 1803.

Let’s go visit his final resting place ! We are in the town land of Oughterard, Co. Kildare – about a twenty minute drive outside Dublin city.

Having parked the car lets head up the short laneway to visit the ancient monastic settlement that is located here . The day is bright and warm – no need for the raincoat ! The monastery was established here around 605 AD by foundress Saint Briga – not to be confused with Brigid of Kildare . She is said to have been ordained by St Patrick, and her feast day is the 9th of March.

As we enter the enclosure a sign tells us that he hilltop monastery and round tower flourished for about 300 years until it was attached and burned by the Dublin Vikings in 995. During the Norman times, the parish was a part of the large estates belonging to Dermot Mc Murrough and for several centuries the monastery rented the land to tenant farmers until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536 and it seems that it was abandoned and fell into ruins around 1620.

Let’s take a stroll – the church that we see dates from around 1189 and has a barrel vaulted chamber and sturdy roof that date from around 1400 . There is a rather uneven spiral staircase that leads to the roof – come with me if you dare as from the rooftop we can get amazing views over the counties of Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow . Nearby the remains of the round tower is set on an elevated site and stands 9.5 metres ( about 31 feet ) high . The graveyard itself beautifully tended and now we can take a look at the grave of its most famous resident .

Arthur Guinness died on the 23rd of January 1802 is buried alongside his wife Olivia, their children and grandchildren. The legend on the tomb to Arthur and his wife reads: “They lived universally beloved and respected and their memory will long be cherished by a numerous circle of friends, relations and descendants.”

In recent times word has gotten out that Arthur Guinness is buried here so it’s become a place of pilgrimage for lovers of his famous brew. In fact, there is a walking and cycling routes known as “ Arthur’s way” that runs for 16 kilometres ( 10 miles ) from his birthplace in Leixlip to his final resting place – dubbed “ from malt to vault” and this has become popular with locals and visitors alike.

I must put this trail on the list as it traces the Guinness family history and passes several interesting local landmarks. Righto time to head on our way . I do hope that you have enjoyed coming with me to this lesser known historical site, and if you get a chance to raise a glass of Guinness either at home or in Ireland you can toast the founder of this unique drink and impress your friends with your knowledge of his burial place.

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Please take care until next time.

All the best, Stephen

Stay well till next time, Stephen
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