GUINNESS TIME
14 October, 2010
GUINNESS TIME

I’ve just returned from Ireland, the Emerald Island as it is known to the world. It is really ‘the world’s greenest country,’ one of the most beautiful; with fantastic landscapes, medieval castles, so pathetic and ‘pure’ in architecture, dolmens, prehistoric burial sites, rustic Atlantic seashore lashed by frequent storms, idyllic fishermen’s villages.  And unforgettable Dublin, the city of Jonathan Swift, Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Becket... Ireland, with its population of less than five million people, has produced so many

Nobel Prize winners in literature!


Hopelessly poor in the past, Ireland now boasts a high living standard; the second in the European Union. Irish people are famous for their humor and eloquence, friendliness and courtesy, for their century’s long struggle for independence. Irish dances and music are capturing world’s imagination. What a remarkable nation! And its economy is also unique. One of locomotives of its progress is beer making.
Ireland is drinking and enjoying Guinness beer. Thousands of people are working for the famous Guinness Company founded in 1759, and thousands more are distributing this beer to the rest of the world. Guinness, in a sense, is a brand name of Ireland. Guinness beer is advertised on every corner. Every restaurant, bar, food-store is selling it. Large clocks in the streets of Irish cities and towns bear visible inscription: ‘GUINNESS TIME.’  Ireland is living according to Guinness time; it is ‘a world according to Guinness.’ This company is economically mighty and politically influential. Is it bad? I was not irritated by seeing this brand name everywhere. It was not like seeing in the USSR the name of Lenin (or his mother, father, wife, sisters and brothers) on every metro station, every other street or square, city or town, industrial enterprise and collective farm, institute or organization. Unlike Lenin’s clan, the Guinness family enriched their country’s history, culture, and well being. Ireland owes much to them.


And Guinness beer is great. I find it the best in the world. (Even Belgian Leffe discovered by me recently is the second according to my personal rating.) Beer is Ireland’s national product, like wine in France, or Italy, or Georgia, and even Irish national beef dishes (like in Belgium) are cooked in beer, not, say, in wine, like in France. So, if Guinness is unarguably the pride of the country, why not glorify it?
I visited the famous Guinness enterprise in Dublin. The brewery occupies a large quarter in the central part of the city, with many buildings, cylinders, tubes, yards, and towers, the highest of which, Guinness Storehouse, serves as an exhibition hall of company’s history and achievements. Practically, it is a Museum of Beer, absolutely unique and exciting. Naturally, all its visitors – and it is attended by Ireland’s guests even more often than St Patrick Cathedral, I presume – are treated to a pint of incompatible black stout; but its main attraction is visual presentation of beer brewing process shown in details and with great skill. The highest floor of the building is used as an observation tower overlooking Dublin; you drink beer and chat there,  then descend to a souvenir shop, where one cannot overcome the desire to buy some of the lures with Guinness emblem – T-shirts, ties, caps, magnets, toys, foods, hundreds of nicely designed and decorated items. I wish I could find a Museum of Wine like that in Tbilisi!


The good thing is that in the heart of Tbilisi one can find a genuine Irish beer bar now – WHEELS – known as the Guinness bar, with live Irish and Georgian music performed by popular instrumental band ‘Wheels.’ Tbilisi is paying tribute to Guinness.

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