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Arthur’s Day has become a welcome tradition in Dublin since its inception a few years ago – in fact it’s now celebrated in places all over the world, including the US (not to mention 32 counties in Ireland).
Named after Arthur Guinness, the inventor of Dublin’s famous black stuff, Arthur’s Day was created to celebrate the 250 year anniversary of Guinness in 2009, and has become a highly anticipated event amongst locals and tourists alike. It’s no surprise such a celebration has been welcomed amongst Dublin locals – every March thousands of people descend on the city to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, and as a result Dublin is overrun with ‘out-of-towners’ and an increasingly commercial attitude. It’s no bad thing, and the atmosphere of St Patrick’s Day in Dublin is hard to beat, but for a more ‘local’ version of the famous holiday Arthur’s Day is the ideal Dublin celebration.
Arthur’s Day happens every September and this year’s date has been confirmed as September 26th, when locals and tourists alike will fill Dublin’s pubs and bars across the city, raising a glass ‘to Arthur’ at 5.59pm precisely.
Why 5.59pm? To celebrate the founding year of the famous brew of course, which you may well have guessed was 1759. • The Music and Creativity Although Arthur’s Day is a celebration of the creation of Guinness and its subsequent impact on Irish culture and the city of Dublin, the day has become synonymous with low-key musical performances and surprise appearances from some of the biggest bands in Ireland and beyond, as well as sets from the best up and coming bands in the UK.
This year there will be 500 music events taking place all over Ireland, with the vast majority of them being completely free to the public. There are a handful of high profile ticketed events, which will take place in Dublin, Limerick, Belfast and Cork and will cost 10 Euros.
If you’re interested in these paid events you can get tickets from approved outlets nationwide, or via www.ticketmaster.ie. So who might you expect to see on Arthur’s Day 2013? Well many of the acts will be a surprise, but a confirmed line-up has been announced, featuring:
• Manic Street Preachers
• Emili Sande
• Bobby Womack
• The Original Rudeboys
• Girl Band
• James Vincent McMorrow
• Janelle Monae Many more expected to be announced soon.
There will be plenty more famous and not-so-famous faces making an appearance, with many bands and artists expected to turn up unannounced to perform in bars and pubs across Dublin and Ireland. This surprise element is one of the most exciting aspects of Arthur’s Day and is always a major talking point amongst Dubliners and tourists. You never know who you might end up seeing and it’s these unexpected appearances that have made Arthur’s Day such a major national and international event. • ‘About Music and Talent …
Not Drinking’ You might think that an event with such prominent branding (particularly one so heavily associated with alcohol) might suffer a backlash from concerned citizens and anti-alcohol organisations. While this is true to some extent, many people understand that the focus of the day is on creativity in Ireland rather than anything else. In fact, Stephen O’Kelly, the marketing director at Guinness, the event is about music and talent, not drinking.
“(Arthur’s Day) is all about people with new ideas” he said, “how we can help to transform them into reality with our help and mentorship and funding, so I think Arthur’s Day this year is very much in that context.” “It’s more about promotion culture and showing the depth of Irish creativity and talent as opposed to anything else. We plan very carefully to mitigate any irresponsible drinking, we work very closely with the Garda Commissioner to ensure that people can go out and really enjoy the day and get home safely, and we’re very committed to that.” Mr O’Kelly went to on discuss the issue of underage drinking, and the criticism recently aimed at Arthur’s Day by the likes of Gabriel Byrne: “A lot of planning goes into ensuring there is no abuse of underage people going into outlets or irresponsible drinking. Obviously, with any event, you can’t plan for complete security but we do everything to ensure that doesn’t happen. That’s not what Arthur’s Day is about.
” • Heading to Dublin If you are planning on heading to Dublin for Arthur’s Day 2013, be sure to take a trip to the world-famous Guinness Storehouse, which will become a cultural hub and hive of activity on the day, featuring a showcase of established and up-and-coming bands from Ireland and around the UK (as well as internationally). While you’re there why not enjoy a pint or three of the black stuff and take in beautiful views of Dublin from the bar located at the top of the building. All money made from Arthur’s Day – including the ticketed music events around Ireland – will be put into the Arthur Guinness Projects, which are designed to champion talent and creativity in Ireland a help build a brighter future for the country. You can even submit your own ideas to the project by visiting www.guinness.com/en-ie/arthursday/projects.html.
If you are heading to Ireland for Arthur’s Day 2013, then you should head over to the official Guinness Events Locater and see what’s on near you – check it out at www.guinness.com/en-ie/arthursday/locator.html.
Susan is super passionate about hotels and in a past life was a travel writer and hotel critic. As a Dublin native she also loves everything about the city and wants to share her knowledge on all the best bits.