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20th January - Arthur Edward Guinness

#OnThisDay, 20th January 1915 Arthur Edward Guinness, Lord Ardilaun died.

Arthur Edward Guinness was the eldest son of Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness.  He was educated at Eton and obtained an MA degree from Trinity College, Dublin in 1866.  On his father’s death in 1868, he inherited his baronetcy and his parliament seat. He also inherited the two estates of St Anne’s and Ashford in Co. Galway.  The brewery business was left equally between him and his youngest brother Edward Cecil.

In 1871, he married Lady Olive Charlotte White and the couple settled in St. Anne’s.

The major expansion and development of St. Anne’s estate was due mainly to Sir Arthur Guinness and his wife Olive.  They remodelled the house almost doubling it in size. One of the most interesting new features was a winter garden in the centre of the mansion, with a glass roof.  It was also at this time that the Roman tower erected by his father on the roof was removed and re-sited on a mound overlooking the lake.

They laid out the new main avenue and planted the evergreen Holm Oaks and Austrian Pines.

Along with his brother Edward Cecil, he funded the Dublin Exhibition in 1872.  He acquired the then private park St Stephen’s Green, personally spending £20,000 on landscaping and then opening it as a public park in 1880.  He also bought the Muckross estate in Kerry in 1899 to save it from commercial development.

Locally he paid for the renovation of the Parochial School and the Crescent Cottages.  He was a major contributor to the building of the new Raheny Infant School in 1875.  However, his lasting legacy to Raheny was the building of a new church for the parish, All Saints in 1889 to replace the old church of St Assam.

He died at St Anne’s and his widow lived on at St Anne’s until her death in 1925.  Both are buried in the mortuary chapel in All Saints Church.

You can read more about Lord Ardilaun in the Raheny Heritage Society’s publication ‘Raheny Footprints’ and in our member Joan Sharkey’s book ‘St Anne’s the story of a Guinness Estate’

Look at our photo gallery to see some photos.