0

'Oh I wish I was in the land of Guinness'

If the state of Georgia is in the land of Dixie, then all of the country of Ireland is the land of Guinness.

The Emerald Isle looks to its national beer, with the same sense of reverence that some old fashioned Georgians, longing for the days before the Civil War, look to the song "Dixie."

The difference is that one of these longings is associated with drunken fools, who constantly get into fights, while the other is a song people expect to hear -- rightly or wrongly -- whenever they visit a so-called redneck's house.

OHHHH, look away - look away - look away Guinness land, for you've been compared to the car horn on the General Lee.

You know what's so funny about Guinness?

Every gift shop you go to in Ireland has a section devoted solely to the hawking of Guinness-themed merchandise, ranging from key-chain bottle openers, to T-shirts, to signs.

Not even Budweiser, Coors and Michelob combined have that much national appeal in the United States.

I guess it comes from Guinness, more or less, being considered the official drink of Ireland - by the Irish themselves. We're accustomed to going into a bar and seeing the gaudy neon Budweiser signs.

In the pubs of Ireland, you might see Budweiser offered as a choice on the tap, but it is very clear from the signage around you that you're in Guinness land.

Not that I mind, really, because I prefer Guinness stout over all of the wimpy American beers.

But, Guinness mania reaches its crescendo at one place, located on Market Street in Dublin. It is the Guinness Storehouse, the museum devoted solely to the history of Guinness Beer that is shaped like a giant, seven-story-tall, pint glass.

The storehouse is located next to the beer-lovers Mecca, the St. James Gate Brewery, on which Arthur Guinness famously signed a 9,000-year lease, at an annual rent of £45 (or $66), back in 1759.

The St. James Gate Brewery is where Guinness is brewed. I, of course, had my photograph taken in front of the gate.

And speaking of the home of Guinness, did you know the Guinness World Records book shares a name with the beer company, because it was started in 1951, by Sir Hugh Beaver, who was the managing director of the St. James Gate Brewery at the time. It's true.

Beaver started the book after going out with a shooting party, and getting into an argument with one of his colleagues over what was the fastest game bird in Europe.

Now, the trip to the Guinness Storehouse was, for me, one of the highlights of my trip overseas. I mean, I drove around the country, seeing the Guinness name boasted everywhere, so of course, it all built up to the visit to Dublin, and to the storehouse.

By the way, I became a Guinness honorary master apprentice while I was over there.

So, in closing, if and when you go to Ireland, remember that as soon as you step off the plane, or the boat, you are in the land of Guinness.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.