Glasses raised as Guinness family member celebrates 70th birthday

Fri, Aug 20, 2010, 01:00

“GUINNESS IS good for you”, the old saying used to go, but when all of the family show up and get together under the one roof, the 1970s advertising slogan “Tá siad ag teacht” takes on a whole new meaning.

The cream of Dublin’s most famous brewing dynasty turned out in full force last night to raise a glass and say congratulations to Lady Miranda Iveagh who celebrated her 70th birthday at a lavish party fit for someone as noble as King Arthur himself.

Iveagh House – the old family townhouse occupied by the Department of Foreign Affairs – was unavailable so the venue selected was the Guinness Storehouse at St James’s Gate.

Lady Miranda, whose late husband Benjamin Guinness was chairman of Guinness from 1965 to 1995, has been suffering from cancer in recent times but she was in glowing form as she posed for family photographs.

As well-wishers lined up to shake her hand and kiss her cheek, she said jokingly: “If you behave as if you’re 70, you’re done for.”

Her son Rory, a direct descendant of Arthur Guinness, who divides his time between London and Dublin, was chuffed at having recently joined the board of St Patricks Cathedral.

He and his siblings Emma, Louisa and Ned were thoroughly enjoying the evening, catching up with old friends. “Life is too short not to have a party,” he said.

Among those who joined in the celebrations were Lord Mountcharles from Slane and his wife Lady Iona of Verulem; Anna Harvey, editorial director of Vogue in London; James Golden, the creator of the Wexford Festival Opera; Kathleen Watkins and Gay Byrne, whose father in his day helped churn out barrels of the black stuff from St James’s Gate.

Also in attendance were the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn from Co Tyrone, Jonathan Irwin of the Jack and Jill Foundation, James Mellon of the famous New York banking family, former minister Des OMalley and his wife Pat, Sean Rafferty of BBC Radio 3, designer Louise Kennedy, Lord and Lady Ross of Birr, Jennifer Guinness and Robert Guinness.

The last word fell to the star of the night, who said: “I have to admit, it’s been a privilege to be part of this family. I’m very much at home in Dublin.”