================================================= The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter October 2007 The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.irishnation.com Copyright (C) 2007 ================================================= IN THIS ISSUE === Foreword === News Snaps from Ireland === New free resources at the site === Play the Irish Lotto === Irish Halloween Traditions === The Road to Knowledge by John B. McCabe === Feedback about the Irish in the US Civil War === An Australians Visit to Ireland === Guinness in the Twenty-First Century === Gaelic Phrases of the Month === Monthly free competition result ================================================= FOREWORD ======== Happy Halloween from a very cold Ireland! Be sure to check out our article about Halloween traditions in Ireland below Many thanks to this months contributors and especially John B. McCabe who has sent us in another reminisce about life in 1950s Ireland. Please DO send us in your stories, poems or articles about Ireland for the next edition - we love including reader contributions, until next month, Michael WE NEED YOUR HELP! PLEASE - send this newsletter on to your friends or relatives who you think are interested in Ireland. By doing this you are helping to keep us 'free'. Got something to say? Don't keep it to yourself! Why don't you submit an article for inclusion in the next edition? Go here for more information: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm Do you have access to a website? You can help to keep this newsletter alive by adding a link to any of our websites below: http://www.irishnation.com http://www.irishsurnames.com http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.allfamilycrests.com http://www.irishpenpals.com If you have an AOL or HOTMAIL account then you will get much better results by viewing this newsletter online here: http://www.ireland-information.com/oct07.htm The only way that you could have been subscribed to this newsletter is by filling out a subscription form at the site whereupon a confirmation notice would have been issued. If you wish to unsubscribe then go here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm ================================================= NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND ======================= IRISH ECONOMY: ON THE WAY UP OR DOWN? Conflicting reports about the future direction of the Irish economy have been emanating from think-thanks, financial institutions and the government itself. There is little doubt that the recent slow-down in construction activity has hit the economy but how badly? The government continues to maintain that the economy is in good shape and that the pessimism is overstated. Financial institutions however are forecasting a much lower rate of growth for 2008, generally within the 2 to 3% range. The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has predicted growth of 2.9% in 2008 but has admitted that in recent years it has under-estimated economic growth on an almost annual basis. The Central Bank and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) were also guilty of under-estimating economic growth in Ireland. The 3 bodies performed on a relative par up to the turn of the decade but after the new century began they failed by margins of between 1.3% to 3.8% in predicting growth in the economy. Such disparities are unlikely to give the Irish public any confidence in the ability of these organisations to make such economic predictions. Recent highs of just under 90,000 housing units being built annually look set to fall back sharply to 50 or 60 thousand in 2008. With house prices falling it is unlikely that builders will start to develop new projects until their are signs of a upturn. Some economists are predicting that this could actually lead to price increases in a years time! Certainly there are signs that demand is still high for properties to rent with rents going up significantly. Despite the slowdown in the property market (prices have fallen by anywhere between 4 and 8% depending on which survey you read), 1 in 3 Irish companies employed staff in the last quarter which is quite a testament considering the pessimism in the media about the economy. This would lend credence to those commentators who believe that there will be no wide-scale lay-offs and unemployment even if the construction market continues to contract. Employment in the broader economy looks set to increase by 3% this year. With the above in mind it is clear that there is actual division among economist on the issue and yet the anecdotal evidence would suggest that the economy is still in rude good health: * no mass migration of workers out of the country * no major repossession of homes by the banks * no Irish fall-out from the US sub-prime debacle * employment continues to rise * unemployment steady in the 4 to 4.3% range While the low US dollar and continuing high energy costs are definite threats to competitiveness, it seems more likely that a good economic performance in 2008 can still be expected. RYANAIR FOUNDER DIES AGED 71 The death has occurred of Tony Ryan at the age of 71 years. The co-founder of Ryanair was a native of Thurles in County Tipperary. After a career in Aer Lingus and GPA he established Ryanair in 1985 with flights from Waterford to Gatwick. Within 3 years the company was on the verge of collapse but the appointment of Michael O'Leary and the acquisition of a new route to fly from Dublin to London turned the companies fortunes. Despite the failure of the stock market flotation of GPA his great success will always be remembered as Ryanair, the airline which still bears his name. LEARNER DRIVER RULES TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN 2008 The new rules which would have prevented learner drivers from driving alone will be introduced in June of 2008 and not this year as originally planned. The current situation allows for learner drivers who fail their driving test to simply drive away from the test centre and apply again. The government is seeking to restrict this anomaly by insisting that learners drive in the company of a fully qualified driver. IRISH SOCCER MANAGER SACKED The Football Association of Ireland has drawn a line under the tenure of rookie manager Steve Staunton when he was sacked after the dismal home draw to Cyprus. The 1-1 draw in Croke Park in the Euro 2008 qualifiers was greeted by boos and derision from the huge crowd. Only 17 months into a four year contract, Staunton continually stated that this campaign was a building process for the Irish team. Results however were pretty abysmal with defeat in Cyprus and only a last minute winner away to San Marino preventing a disaster against the minnows of European football. Failure to again beat the Cypriots in Dublin was the final straw. Voice your opinion on these news issues here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletterboard/wwwboard.html ================================================= NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE ============================== FREE KIDS HALLOWEEN PICTURE TO PRINT AND COLOR Get a free picture of Halloween in Ireland to color as well as more great coloring pictures for kids: http://www.ireland-information.com/freegames.htm NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY: The following 4 coats of arms images and family history details have been added to the Gallery: N: Nash I: Innes, Ivers R: Reidy View the Gallery here: http://www.irishsurnames.com/coatsofarms/gm.htm THE PERFECT WEDDING, ANNIVERSARY OR BIRTHDAY GIFT! We now have over 100,000 worldwide names available. Get the Coat of Arms Print, Claddagh Ring, Screensaver, Watch, T-Shirt Transfer or Clock for your name at: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestgifts.htm ================================================= PLAY THE IRISH LOTTERY ====================== 34 M.illionaires were created by the Irish lottery in 2003! You could be next - especially if you use the service provided by http://www.irishlotto.net http://www.irishlotto.net has been in operation since 1988 and is one of the oldest online lottery sites in the world. With subscribers in 89 countries it is easy to see why so this site is considered as being among the most reliable lottery sites on the web. Their website is now totally revamped! The Irish lotto jackpot is never lower than US$1,500,000 and is frequently worth in excess of US$5,000,000. It can rise to $12,000,000 and more. You don't have to live in Ireland to play and all winnings are Tax Free! The draw takes place every Wednesday and Saturday night on national television (RTE). The jackpot is won by matching the first six numbers drawn (1 to 42). A seventh number is also drawn and is called the 'bonus' number. Money can also be won by matching five numbers, five numbers plus the bonus number, four numbers, four numbers plus the bonus number or three numbers plus the bonus number. Although people tend to pick their own lucky numbers, a 'quick pick' option is available which instructs the Lotto computer to select the entry numbers. Winnings are tax-free and are paid out in one lump sum. The service offered by irishlotto.net includes: * Entering your numbers in the Irish Lottery and immediately sending you official confirmation of your entry. * Double-checking your numbers after each draw. * Immediately notifying you, in confidence, of any winnings. Payment is made according to your instructions. * Sending you details of the winning numbers for the draws in which you participate. Total confidentiality is assured. No one will know that you have bought a ticket and no one will know that you have won - except you! The entry fees include all postage, handling and agent charges. Got a question? Email the friendly staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at: http://www.irishlotto.net ================================================= IRISH HALLOWEEN TRADITIONS ========================== The Celts celebrated Halloween as Samhain, 'All Hallowtide' - the 'Feast of the Dead', when the dead revisited the mortal world. The celebration marked the end of Summer and the start of the Winter months. During the eighth century the Catholic Church designated the first day of November as 'All Saints Day' ('All Hallows') - a day of commemoration for those Saints that did not have a specific day of remembrance. The night before was known as 'All Hallows Eve' which, over time, became known as Halloween. Here are the most notable Irish Halloween Traditions: Colcannon for Dinner: Boiled Potato, Curly Kale (a cabbage) and raw Onions are provided as the traditional Irish Halloween dinner. Clean coins are wrapped in baking paper and placed in the potato for children to find and keep. The Barnbrack Cake: The traditional Halloween cake in Ireland is the barnbrack which is a fruit bread. Each member of the family gets a slice. Great interest is taken in the outcome as there is a piece of rag, a coin and a ring in each cake. If you get the rag then your financial future is doubtful. If you get the coin then you can look forward to a prosperous year. Getting the ring is a sure sign of impending romance or continued happiness. The Ivy Leaf: Each member of the family places a perfect ivy leaf into a cup of water and it is then left undisturbed overnight. If, in the morning, a leaf is still perfect and has not developed any spots then the person who placed the leaf in the cup can be sure of 12 months health until the following Halloween. If not..... The Pumpkin: Carving Pumpkins dates back to the eighteenth century and to an Irish blacksmith named Jack who colluded with the Devil and was denied entry to Heaven. He was condemned to wander the earth but asked the Devil for some light. He was given a burning coal ember which he placed inside a turnip that he had gouged out. Thus, the tradition of Jack O'Lanterns was born - the bearer being the wandering blacksmith - a damned soul. Villagers in Ireland hoped that the lantern in their window would keep the wanderer away. When the Irish emigrated in their millions to America there was not a great supply of turnips so pumpkins were used instead. Halloween Costumes: On Halloween night children would dress up in scary costumes and go house to house. 'Help the Halloween Party' and 'Trick or Treat' were the cries to be heard at each door. This tradition of wearing costumes also dates back to Celtic times. On the special night when the living and the dead were at their closest the Celtic Druids would dress up in elaborate costumes to disguise themselves as spirits and devils in case they encountered other devils and spirits during the night. By disguising they hoped that they would be able to avoid being carried away at the end of the night. This explains why witches, goblins and ghosts remain the most popular choices for the costumes. Snap Apple: After the visits to the neighbours the Halloween games begin, the most popular of which is Snap Apple. An apple is suspended from a string and children are blindfolded. The first child to get a decent bite of the apple gets to keep their prize. The same game can be played by placing apples in a basin of water and trying to get a grip on the apple without too much mess! The Bonfire: The Halloween bonfire is a tradition to encourage dreams of who your future husband or wife is going to be. The idea was to drop a cutting of your hair into the burning embers and then dream of you future loved one. Halloween was one of the Celt 'fire' celebrations. Blind Date: Blindfolded local girls would go out into the fields and pull up the first cabbage they could find. If their cabbage had a substantial amount of earth attached to the roots then their future loved one would have money. Eating the cabbage would reveal the nature of their future husband - bitter or sweet! Another way of finding your future spouse is to peel an apple in one go. If done successfully the single apple peel could be dropped on the floor to reveal the initials of the future-intended. Anti-Fairy Measures: Fairies and goblins try to collect as many souls as they can at Halloween but if they met a person who threw the dust from under their feet at the Fairy then they would be obliged to release any souls that they held captive. Holy water was sometimes anointed on farm animals to keep them safe during the night. If the animals were showing signs of ill health on All Hallows Eve then they would be spat on to try to ward off any evil spirits. Happy Halloween from Ireland! ================================================= YOU CAN HELP TO KEEP THIS FREE NEWSLETTER ALIVE! Visit: http://www.irishnation.com where you can get great Irish gifts, prints, claddagh jewellery, engraved glassware and much more. Anne MacDonald ordered a family crest plaque: Hello, Michael, Received my plaque, carefully wrapped, in good order. It is splendid! I am thrilled, and I know that my dad, for whose 81st birthday this was ordered, will love it. I would like to order another one! Everyone who has seen the plaque has been really impressed, even those who, as my daughter says are 'not into ancestor worship!' Again, my hearty thanks for this first-class product. Best wishes for happy holiday season. Sincerely, Anne MacDonald THE PERFECT WEDDING OR ANNIVERSARY GIFT! View family crest plaques here: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestplaques.htm ================================================= THE ROAD TO KNOWLEDGE by John B. McCabe ===================== I can never recall with any accuracy my first day at school because I made two beginnings. My brother was two years older than me and he was sent to school for the first time at the age of six. I was sent along with him but then my parents took pity on me because I was only four and it was a mile walk to school. I was kept at home until the following year and made a new beginning then. School itself was not such a wonderful experience though I was bright enough to learn quickly and was seldom punished. Being naturally fond of company I delighted in the excitement of the crowd but privately formed only a few special friendships. In spite of my ability to learn quickly it is sad to recall that I never felt loved at primary school and the prevailing mood of those years was one of anxiety and nervousness fear of being late, fear of being slapped, shame at watching others being beaten. The schoolmistress who taught me in the early years was a good and conscientious young woman who struggled heroically with too many children clamouring for individual attention. The schoolmaster was humane and philosophical and I warmed to him a little better but never crossed the bridge between servile respect and healthy reverence where real learning is possible. There was a hunger in me that was never filled in those formative years. One or two small seeds did take root where the cadence of words and rhythms from early poems touched my ear for the first time but it was a sparse and famished nourishment that barely awoke the soul. Scientists agree that the most difficult sense to recall is the sense of smell. Even when we dream we do so in visual and aural worlds but never in olfactory dimensions. Yet when it comes to those early school years it is a variety of smells and tactile sensations which best evoke, for me, the ambience and atmosphere of that time. The distinctive smell and cloying touch of plasticine finds me rolling out wriggly worms on a rough bench to form bicycles, bird's nests, little houses and a whole variety of clumsy models of the world around me. The fumbling grip of a tiny finger and thumb on a morsel of chalk - the dry scratching on slate announce my first wobbly alphabet. Cold water, coal dust and sunlight soap in an enamelled basin the ritual ablutions after lighting the school fire. The aura of expectancy evoked in the smell of new books and their promised discoveries, marred inevitably by ink stains and sullied by punishments earned or undeserved in the explorations of grammar, spelling and transcription. The musty aftermath of stale lunch crumbs in canvas bags - the pungency of ammonia fumes oozing from the dry-toilet walls. These and a thousand other smells are forever remembrances of school. There was no wall-clock that I can recall and the school day was measured as in some primeval age by phases of change. Time did not seem to exist so slowly did the hours drawl by. Morning prayers, roll call, mid-morning break, the shock of sound when the angelus rang from the nearby chapel, lunch-time, afternoon break and finally the excited exodus of home time. These were the constant signposts along to road to knowledge. Between these unchanging divisions of the day lay the timeless routine of learning which followed a monastic regularity: chanting of tables - brow-furrowed puzzlement of sums - the finger leading the eye from word to word along the mysterious page. There was so little colour in those books after we left the infant classes that the mind grew bland with boredom. My eyes hungered for some stimulus to brighten the landscape of our drab and desolate space. I still recall the primitive abacus of coloured spools threaded on clothes-line wire against the brown wainscoted wall - the vivid pink of fresh plaster covering a hole in the off-white ceiling - a deep green spray of painted shamrocks and a cascade of fiery tongues lurking among the dull pages of an early catechism. Occasionally a little light would seep through a chink in the armour of routine. A visiting missionary would call with exotic tales of malarious mosquitoes, witch doctors and cannibals in dugout canoes. For a brief moment our minds would glow in the warmth of imaginations fire, bright as the equatorial sun. Rarer still a travelling conjurer would visit and we could purchase for a few pennies those happy mesmeric moments when 'the swiftness of the hand would steal a march on the eye'. The most terrifyingly important moment of the year was the annual catechism exam when we begged mammy to 'put us over the answers' in the thin dawn light before going in to school. The examiner was a young priest, a gentle, warm and loving man who offered half the answer with the question so that we could act our answers from his prompting phrases while we were centre-stage for this most dramatic performance of the academic year. Progress was measured by postings: firstly from bench to bench and later from room to room. Moving to the 'master's room' marked a definite graduation which promised that sometime in the unimaginable future it might be possible to earn parole from this, to us, life-long learning imprisonment. Then there came a day shortly before I finished my apprenticeship when the master opened a book and read a poem in Irish called 'An Long' about a ship which came to harbour after many exotic adventures in far-away magical places. That's when it happened. A door opened to a world of words. Was it something in the timbre of emotion in the master's voice or the look of longing in his tired eyes when he savoured the sounds? I am sure he was not aware of the impact he made on me at that moment of epiphany but today I thank him for the gift that was worth the waiting in those timeless years. John B. Mc Cabe ~~~ You can read some more stories by John here: Getting Connected http://www.ireland-information.com/aug03.htm A Letter from America http://www.ireland-information.com/jun03.htm ================================================= KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE! Visit: http://www.irishnation.com ================================================= FEEDBACK ON 'THE IRISH IN THE US CIVIL WAR' =========================================== FREIDA MCANINCH: Your article on Irish-Americans serving in the American Civil War was most interesting, but only gave one side of history. My Irish ancestors, the five Scally brothers of Tippah County, MS, fought, were wounded, and in two cases, died in service to the CSA. My great-great grandfather, William Hull Scally, served in the 32nd Mississippi Inf., Co E (The Hatchie Tigers) which was formed and commanded by his brother Capt. John Scally. William was seriously wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga and saw his brother John shot from his horse and killed during the battle. John had previously served in the Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, VA and been wounded. After his enlistment was up, he re-enlisted and served until his death. A third brother, James Scally, was held prisoner in a northern prison camp for 9 months. Upon his exchange, he was hospitalized, then badly wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness. George Scally simply disappeared on his way home to MS after being discharged as to ill with pneumonia for military service, probably succumbing to the illness before he reached home. Henry Scally was only 16 when he enlisted and was wounded at the Battle of Franklin, TN. He spent the rest of the war in a northern prison camp. Two deaths - four wounded - two in prisoner of war camps. No major political figures here, no names remembered in history,just Mississippi dirt farmers with Irish courage and fighting spirit on the other side of the coin (taken from: Irish Confederates: The Civil War's Forgotten Soldiers by Phillip T. Tucker.) Great-great grandfather and great-great uncles I salute you and hope to honor you with these words! TOM O'BRIEN: I just finished reading 'The Southern Irish in the Civil War' by David Donehoo which appeared in the September newsletter. I found it very interesting by virtue of the author's view of who is Irish. He states that most of the Irish of the South at the time of the U.S. Civil War were Scot-Irish, (the term used to describe that group here in the U.S. is Scotch-Irish). I agree, but since the 'troubles' in NI, most people of Scotch-Irish descent will go out of their way to tell you that they are 'Irish' merely because their Scottish ancestors settled in what is today NI. In Northern Ireland today I believe that most Protestants consider themselves British, and not Irish in every sense of the word, be it culture or language or even religion. So it was interesting to read Mr. Donehoo's comment about the Irish of the South in the U.S. prior to our Civil War. He must be in a minority in his feelings that he is of Irish descent among Protestants who are actually descended from Scotch-Irish ancestors. THOMAS MCDONALD: I have for the last few years read your newsletter and enjoyed it very much. I read this months letter with Mr. McManus' article on the Irish in the Civil War. Anytime there is an article about the Irish who took part in the war I read it with interest. I was surprised however with some of things it noted that were contradictory to published and documented history. The first was Meagher, it would have been nice if he did receive the MOH but alas he didn't, several of his men did and many who were in the Brigade served nobly. He left the Irish Brigade due to not being able to further recruit before Gettysburg. Reynolds and Shaw (54th Mass) were indeed from Irish Protestant ancestry which most don't know however Shaw also didn't receive to MOH, but by leading his men to his death, he set a special example. McPherson was also a great example too, but note the were many more like Cleburne, Sheridan, Smyth, Sweeny and Father Corby. The story of the Irish in the Civil War isn't just an article or even a simple book but volumes on how a group of people proved by sacrifice they were more than worthy of being Americans. MAUREEN HAWKINS: I just read Mr. Ed McManus' article on the Irish in the American Civil War. He seems to have overlooked the fact that many Irish fought on the Confederate side - some apparently because they approved of slavery (yes, some of our ancestors were racist - during the 1840s and 1850s, the Irish in Ireland and America were frequently treated more poorly than Black slaves, and some reacted by denigrating Blacks, asserting Irish superiority over Blacks, and supporting slavery, though others sympathetically saw parallels between their situation and that of the Blacks. Others backed the Confederacy because they saw Federal interference with States' rights as a form of imperialism such as Britain exercised over Ireland. For whatever reason, it is estimated that as many Irish fought on the side of the Confederacy as on the side of the Union. ================================================= AN AUSTRALIANS VISIT TO IRELAND by Patricia Sailor =============================== I have just visited Ireland with 2 other Aussie girls (well I use the term girls, even though our brains are only 30, our bodies are twice that age, and a wee bit more!!) We absolutely loved the friendliness of the Irish people and the beauty of the countryside took our breath away. When Johnny Cash sang 'Forty shades of Green' he was spot on the money. My ancestors came to Australia from County Clare in 1864, so I have dreamed all my life of going to the place of their birth and walking the soil where they once walked. We had the most wonderful time in Lisdoonvarna, staying at the Sleepzone Hostel. And of course we visited every pub in that quaint little Town, just to listen to the great Irish/Country Music. The match-making Festival was on and the Town was buzzing with excitement. We made so many friends and had a wonderful time. Some of the local accents were so strong, we didn't quite understand the people a lot of the time, but we just kept smiling and saying 'yes'!! My friends told me later that I had accepted 20 marriage proposals Ha! ha! I would gladly spend the rest of my days there in that dreamy little Town. We visited the Cliffs of Moher. What can one say about the magnificence of this place? I just stood in awe at the scenery all around me. Walked till I just about dropped. My body was screaming for mercy by this stage but I kept plodding on. I didn't care if I took my last breath on Earth at this wonderful place. We are all planning to come back again. We had never been on an overseas holiday before, so we were like a pack of school-girls let loose on the Planet. It was so wonderful to get out in the countryside and breathe the air and meet the most easy-going, friendly people, who seem to live in a wonderful, contented world where life has stood still for the past 50 years... Wonderful memories to dwell on everyday. Patricia Sailor ================================================= YOU CAN HELP TO KEEP THIS FREE NEWSLETTER ALIVE! Visit http://www.irishnation.com where you can get great Irish gifts, prints, claddagh jewellery, engraved glassware and much more. Wendy Walker of Columbia, Missouri got a family crest signet ring with the Donnelly family crest engraved on it for her son Michael, I received by registered mail today the ring I ordered for my son with the Donnelly family crest. I am very impressed and thrilled with the ring. It is beautiful and the service I received throughout the whole process of ordering and receiving this unique gift has been superb. Thank you for all your assistance and prompt responses to my questions. I will most certainly order other items from you and will highly recommend you. Thank you Wendy Walker THE PERFECT WEDDING, ANNIVERSARY OR BIRTHDAY GIFT! See here for family crest gifts: Visit: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestgifts.htm ================================================= GUINNESS IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY by Bill Yenne ==================================== By the beginning of the twenty-first century, two billion pints of Guinness were being poured annually in more than 150 countries around the world. According to the industry newsletter, Impact: Global News and Research for the Drinks Executive, Guinness Stout is the seventeenth largest selling beer brand in the world, and by far the best-selling beer brand that is not a pale yellow lager. Ireland and the United Kingdom remain the largest markets in the world for Guinness, with Nigeria in third place. In fourth place, the United States is the fastest growing Guinness market. According to Jonathan Waldron, the Dublin-based Guinness Draught marketing manager, 'Our top four markets explain 95 percent of our volume.' Though no longer the largest in the world, the Guinness Brewery at St. James's Gate remains the largest in Ireland - and the largest stout brewery in the world - with a capacity of 6.5 million barrels. After 69 years, the huge Guinness brewery at Park Royal was closed in 2005. It had once been Guinness's largest brewery, but as production at the site declined, the company decided to close it, and to concentrate stout production for the United Kingdom and Ireland - as well as for the United States - at the birthplace of Guinness in St. James's Gate. In Ireland, the company also has an additional 1.5 million barrel capacity in Dundalk, as well as 1.2 million barrels at Kilkenny. At Waterford, the former Cherry's Brewery has been upgraded to a state-of-the-art special ingredient plant to produce Guinness Flavor Extract for export to the 50 countries where Guinness is brewed, either under license or at brewing companies in which Guinness is a partner. Overseas, the company still owns a share in Malaysia's Guinness Anchor Berhad and it operates 10 breweries in six African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, and the Seychelles. Africa is a key market for Guinness. Indeed, Africans drink more than one third of all the Guinness in the world. Today, as much as ever, St. James's Gate is the center of gravity, not only for Guinness, but for its fans and devotees. Guinness aficionados who have made the pilgrimage to St. James's Gate since the turn of the century have been welcomed at the Guinness Storehouse, the brewery's new visitor center. The Storehouse is the successor to the Guinness Hop Store that served as the visitor center from 1988 to 2000. When the Storehouse opened, the Hop Store was sold to the Digital Hub, an Irish Government initiative to 'create an international center of excellence for knowledge, innovation and creativity focused on digital content and technology enterprises.' ~~~ This article is continued in the online edition of this newsletter: http://www.ireland-information.com/oct07.htm#article
Just as the previous visitor center had served for hop storage, the massive Storehouse was once part of the process of producing stout. Built to house fermentation vessels and opened in 1904, the 125-foot-high, red brick building once contained the largest fermentation vessel in the world. Updated and expanded in the 1950s, the Storehouse was superseded in the 1980s by a newer facility across James's Street to the north. It reopened in its new incarnation in December 2000. As the Hop Store before it, the Storehouse contains a myriad of exhibits relating to the history and folklore of the beer, the brand and the brewery. It also houses the Guinness Archives.
The Guinness Storehouse now has the distinction of being Ireland's number one visitor attraction, with three million visitors in its first five years. It is topped with the Guinness Gravity Bar, which is the highest point in Dublin. Constituting the seventh floor of the Storehouse, the Gravity Bar is a nice place to enjoy a pint, while also enjoying a 360-degree view of Dublin itself.
When those people who are enjoying their pints at the Gravity Bar -- or at the 150 or so Dublin pubs visible from the Gravity Bar -- or in the 150 countries across the horizon -- what pints are they enjoying? Jonathan Waldron explained, as we sat in the Brewery Bar one floor down from the Gravity Bar, that Guinness thinks in terms of a lead variant in each of its markets.
"Our approach to date has been that there is a lead variant in each market. In Ireland, the United Kingdom and North America, the lead variant would be Guinness Draught by a margin of about 75 to 80 percent," he said. "In Ireland, Guinness Extra Stout is drunk by an older population, including people who began drinking Guinness when Guinness was only Extra Stout. That is evolving a little bit as we see, for example, that younger consumers might like to enjoy Guinness Extra Stout with certain meals, such as with fish. They find the bite of the carbonation, plus the deeper tone, as a good balance with fish."
Waldron observed that in Ireland, Guinness has been so ingrained in the culture for so many years, that it presents an interesting marketing challenge. This challenge is to market a beer to younger people who may perceive it as being their "father's beer."
As he explains, "We will always strive to maintain a contemporary association with the brand in Ireland because everybody's father did drink it. On the other hand, in the United States, the average stout drinker tends to be younger and more highly educated than the average beer drinker because Guinness is perceived as a premium beer."
In the United States, the huge increase in attention to microbreweries has been a great boon for Guinness because they have revitalized interest in complexity and rich flavor in beer. As Waldron puts it: "The craft brew segment of the American market is great for Guinness in that those kinds of beers are drunk by people who are looking for a taste experience. We can certainly offer people a taste experience! There are some great beers out there, and the more popular they become, it's only going to help Guinness."
In most of the rest of the world, Waldron says that Foreign Extra Stout is by far the lead variant: "In Japan, we've only ever had Guinness Draught, but elsewhere in the Far East, where our big markets are Malaysia and Indonesia, the lead variant has always been Foreign Extra Stout, as it is across Africa. In North America, we see an interesting thing, which is that people in the Afro-Caribbean demographic favor Guinness Extra Stout. In the Caribbean, the lead variant is Foreign Extra Stout, which is unavailable in the United States, so they are getting close to that with Guinness Extra Stout."
Noting that Guinness sees the Foreign Extra Stout world as a potential growth area for Guinness Draught, he said that, "We're experimenting with launching draught in Asian markets. Guinness Draught has long been available in Hong Kong, and it is gradually becoming more available in upscale bars in some major Chinese cities. We have a draught presence in hotels and leading bars, but if we want to expand our business, we have to go for the man in the street. We've found that, whereas the older generation may be happy with the bite and the bitterness of Foreign Extra Stout, the younger generation has grown up with a sweeter palate, so Guinness Draught is a much more appealing product for them."
The fact that Nigeria is the third largest market for Guinness after the United Kingdom and Ireland underscores the importance of Foreign Extra Stout among the variants. On the other hand, the fact that the United States is the fastest growing market is important for the draught products.
"In time, I hope that the U.S. market will become the largest," Waldron said. "It's such a huge market. There is an established 'taste beer' segment, which has grown in recent years. Canada is a reasonably good market, but it is a much smaller market than the United Stares. In Europe, Germany is the largest but France, Italy and Spain are close behind. In Russia, Heineken brews Foreign Extra Stout under license from us.
Copyright C 2007 Bill Yenne. All rights reserved.
Bill Yenne has been writing extensively about beer and brewing history for two decades and has discussed these subjects as a featured guest on the History Channel. He is the author of more than forty books on a variety of historical topics, and a member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors.
Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; September 2007;$24.95US/$29.99CAN;
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