Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Our culture is being drowned in the black stuff

In response to your front page on July 27, it is ridiculous to blame Darren Clarke for enjoying his well-earned favourite tipple after such a magnificent achievement. Darren, and our recent golfing greats, are welcome positive role models for Northern Ireland.

However, while enjoying the odd pint of it myself, this wider complete and utter obsession over promoting Guinness to tourists is one that I fail to fathom and verges on the absurd.

If you go to visit the Belfast Welcome Centre the place is like a shrine to Guinness, with a preposterous number of souvenirs dedicated to the brand of a multinational company whose alcoholic product isn't actually even made in Northern Ireland.

Our airports, ports and tourist information centres have a lot to answer for by propagating stereotypes. Little else is offered to tourists in terms of souvenirs other than Guinness and leprechauns.

Are we not capable of producing some classier Irish souvenirs than that? Is the dominant promotion of Irish souvenirs not also a little against the spirit of the current times?

Northern Irish, British and Ulster-Scot souvenirs seem non-existent. Perhaps bodies such as the Ulster Scots Agency could be useful in increasing the diversity of images that we send abroad.

R McAllister

Co Down

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