Kildare’s Arthurian tale toasted at 17.56

Desmond Guinness speaks at the grave of his ancestor, Arthur.
IT is the last time Leixlip Town Council will organise an Arthur’s day trip, bar a miracle.

IT is the last time Leixlip Town Council will organise an Arthur’s day trip, bar a miracle.

But its chaiperson, Theresa Byrne, hoped someone will continue to celebrate a man widely regarded as Kildare’s greatest businessman, Arthur Guinness.

On Thursday last, a bus left Leixlip Mill’s, close to where the original Arthur’s brother, Richard, once ran the now sadly closed historic Salmon Leap pub.

It took its passengers on a tour which included the Steam Museum at Lodge Park, Straffan, home of a Guinness ancestor, onto Arthur’s burial place at one of Kildare most beautiful spots, back through his presumed birthplace, Celbridge, and back to St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, where Arthur’s set share links with the great 20th century literary giant, Samuel Beckett.

The day ended at the Courtyard Hotel, where the Town Councill’s opted to declare 17.56 as toasting time as opposed to 17.59 to get a few minutes up on the rest of the world. That was because, tis held, Leixlip, and indeed Celbridge, deserved it.

Along the way, historian, Seamus Kelly, of Rathangan ancestry, filled in the historical gaps.

Oughterard cemetery is the home resting ground of Arthur’s mother’s family, who sold ale themselves.

In attendance at a wreath laying ceremony was Desmond and Penny Guinness, along with Marina and Desmond’s grandchildren