Arthur’s Day began in 2009 to celebrate 250 years of Guinness Beer. Like Ireland needed another reason to drink beer in the pub, right? Diageo, who owns the brand of Guinness started the idea with getting people to the bar by 17:59, military time. This represents the year 1759 in which the beer was founded by Arthur Guinness. In addition to celebrating the year marked by the time, they would also celebrate two other areas of Irish culture, the pub and music.
They are supposed “to paint the town black,” which is the color of the stout. Critics say this ritual promotes binge drinking and cite a 30% increase in ambulance runs. Even the Physicians of Ireland Royal College have voiced their views against Diageo and the apparent marketed-holiday celebration.
Drinking a pint of Guinness at 17:59 on a Thursday evening in a pub after work listening to some band with an Irish flair sounds good , right? Not so fast. Certain groups are arguing over whether this is a good idea or not. Musicians, over 1,00 of them will play in pubs today and get paid. They’ll enjoy their paycheck received, especially when the economy has been suffering in Ireland as of late.
But health officials, doctors and others worry about cirrhosis of the liver when beer is so cheap and readily bought in supermarkets. Some say it’s so cheap they can purchase all they need for a week from one hour’s pay.
This celebration which occurs today will have 32 countries participating. There will be free concerts. Some social medias have boycotted this event saying it is a marketing plan for Guinness. Other folks use social media to tip off their friends who is playing where and when.
Of course, Diageo urges the pub goers to drink Guinness responsibly, while enjoying the pub and the music.
One Dublin musician named Paddy Cullivan stated it truthfully. “There’s an alco-holiday happening all the time in Ireland, it’s called Friday and Saturday night.”
Some texted they were not in favor of Arthur’s Day and one chairman said we don’t need another reason to drink. On the other hand many pubs will offer pints for free as the people hear music and enjoy the likes of Tom Jones, Mumford and Sons and others who showed up in recent years.
Guinness points out that the 5 year debt crisis which hit the pubs pretty hard has given a needed boost to the establishments. They also say next year they might focus less on beer and bars and put the arts up front. It does seem as though this has caught on, this celebration of the birthday of Guinness, as 32 countries will participate today. Maybe this can give way to make it a cultural event with arts and music and even food. Sporting events certainly have their alcohol intake why not music and folklore?
Is Guinness just a target for critics? Isn’t the person supposed to have self control? What about Ireland’s debt and their association with pubs and pints and song? Maybe they are questioning their own ties to alcohol, namely Guinness today as the pubs are underway celebrating Arthur Guinness from 1759.
By Caroline Clemens
New York Times.com