Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Global Guinness celebrations begin

The Script
The Script
Tim Robbins joins the red carpet in Dublin for a celebration to mark Arthur's Day 2010
Crowds raised their glasses in honour of Arthur Guinness at the St James's Gate Brewery, Dublin

A host of stars have jetted in to Ireland to celebrate the birth of Guinness.

Global celebrations to commemorate the founder of the world's most famous stout - first brewed by Arthur Guinness in 1759 - kicked off in style as Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody led the toast for Arthur's Day at 17.59pm.

About 3,000 revellers filled an old warehouse at the St James's Gate brewery in Dublin city centre to raise a glass "To Arthur" and see Westlife and the Manic Street Preachers in concert.

Actor Tim Robbins, Dublin band The Script, R&B singer-songwriter Kelis and Paolo Nutini were also among the scores of acts who flew in to perform surprise gigs in more than 40 venues across the country.

Lightbody revealed that Snow Patrol missed out on playing at last year's inaugural Arthur's Day - launched to mark 250 years since Arthur Guinness secured a historic 9,000-year lease at St James's Gate.

"So many bands and artists that we know played it last year, they had such a laugh we were kind of jealous, so when we heard it was happening again we were on the phone," Lightbody added, before the band kicked off with an acoustic set.

Unlikely pals Tim Robbins - in town with his Rogues Gallery Band - and Mark Jones, of the Clash, hugged when they met on the red carpet. The pair, who starred together in the movie Code 46, admitted they could end up side by side again jamming in a secret pub later in the evening.

Mark Sheehan, guitarist with The Script, who are topping the UK charts, grew up just streets away from the world-famous brewery, surrounded by the smell of hops.

"All the smoke would come out of the chimneys here and would float its way in to the area. I'd go in to rehearsals and the boys would go, 'Were you drinking?' and I was like, 'I'm 14'," he said. "It's great to be here."

The Guinness brand, now owned by multinational drinks giant Diageo, is a symbol of Ireland that is recognised around the world. Proceeds from all ticket sales for the events will go to the Arthur Guinness Fund for Irish social entrepreneurs.

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