Arthur Guinness was not only a brilliant businessman, he was also well known for his philanthropy. This is something so instilled in the Guinness tradition that it has been passed down through the Guinness generations and burns brightly within Guinness today.
Arthur was active in public life outside of the brewery. He was elected Warden of the Dublin Corporation of Brewers in 1763 and named Master of the Corporation in 1767. Arthur became brewer to Dublin Castle in the 1770s and went on to be Governor of the Meath Hospital and Secretary to the Friendly Brothers of St Patrick. He donated 250 guineas to the Chapel Schools attached to St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.
Arthur Guinness II continued in his father’s footsteps when he took over the reins of the company. He became a founding member of the Society for Improving the Conditions of Children Employed as Chimney Sweepers and was hugely involved in public life, becoming the President of Dublin Chamber of Commerce and, in 1820, Governor of the Bank of Ireland.
The family legacy passed down through the generations. Arthur Guinness I’s grandson, Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, donated £150,000 towards the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and began the restoration of the adjacent Marsh’s Library. He continued the Guinness involvement in public life, elected as Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1851 and a Minister for Parliament for Dublin City in 1865.
Edward Cecil Guinness, son of Sir Benjamin Guinness, was appointed the first Earl of Iveagh in the 1890’s. He established the Guinness and Iveagh Trusts to provide homes for the poor in London and Dublin. His list of achievements under the trusts are extensive – from building a large indoor market, in the Liberties in the heart of the city, to the development of the Iveagh Baths and hostels. He made substantial contributions to Trinity College Dublin (of which he was Chancellor), St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin hospitals as well as gifting land to the National University of Ireland.
St. Stephen’s Green, a private park in the heart of Dublin, was bought by Edward Cecil’s brother, Arthur Edward Guinness. He landscaped the green space and donated it to the city so it could be enjoyed by the people of Dublin. He completed restoration work on Marsh’s Library and was a benefactor of the Coombe Lying-In (Maternity) Hospital.
The second Earl of Iveagh, Rupert Edward Guinness, donated Iveagh House and its gardens to the Irish government in 1939. Iveagh House is now home to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the gardens are open to the public. He served as Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin and made substantial donations to the university.
The philanthropic spirit of Arthur Guinness continues to inspire the brand today. Guinness pursues opportunities for outreach and engagement with the local communities in which it operates and incorporates sustainability in everything it does.