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Arthur Guinness.

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Arthur Guinness.

1725 - 1803

The first Arthur Guinness was born in Cellbridge County Kildare in 1725, he was the son of a land stewart to the archbishop of Cashel Doctor Arthur Price, he brewed beer for workers on the estate. When Price died in 1752 he left £100 each to Arthur and his father. Arthur set up his first brewery in Leixlip in County Kildare in 1756 with this money. In 1759 he left this brewery in charge of his younger brother and took over one in at St. Jame's Gate in Dublin.

In 1761 ? he married Olivia Whitmore, a relative of Henry Gratten, they were to have twenty one children, ten of which survived to found a dynasty which spread across the world.

His son also Arthur (1758-1858) inherited the business, along with other flower milling interests.

Both the first and second heads of the Guinness dynasty were active members of the Church of Ireland, and were instrumental in starting many philanthropic activities; among the causes they supported were Catholic emancipation, restore hospitals, build almshouses, as well as housing projects and medical research.

In 1855 The company came under the control of Benjamin Lee Guinness (1798-1868) son of Arthur II, building on the sound financial base he inherited he made it the largest business of its kind in the world, exporting beer to Europe, Britain and the USA. He was elected the first Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1851, and was Dublin's representative in the Westminster parliament (1865-1868). It was he who funded the restoration of St Patrick's Cathedral Dublin (1860-65) and was made first Baronet in 1867.

Benjamin Lee's third son Edward Cecil Guinness (1847-1927) continued in the philanthropic spirit of his father and grandfather, he was involved in the restoration of public libraries, and the construction of houses in Dublin and London for artisans.

In the 1980's the families holding in the company had dwindled to about five percent as the company expanded taking over companies such as Bell's whisky in 1985 and the Distillers group in 1986.

It is thought that the family may be descended from the Maguinnes clan who were Gaelic rulers in the terrority of Iveagh in Ulster.

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