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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 December 2007, 14:14 GMT
Guinness origins begin to settle
A pint of Guinness
Guinness is still enjoyed the world over, including in County Down
The origins of a pint of Guinness appear to be much humbler than the man who gave the world "the black stuff" wanted us to think.

Recent testing by Trinity College Dublin of Guinness family DNA has shown that Arthur Guinness's claims of being a descendant of the Magennis chieftains of Iveagh, County Down, were nothing more than aspirational.

Despite this, when he married in 1761, he is even said to have had a silver cup engraved with the Magennis crest, which features the red hand of Ulster, a lion and a boar.

The research, featured in a new book, has shown that the family tree of the man, whose name still appears on kegs and pint glasses across the globe, actually stems from another County Down clan, the less revered and wealthy McCartans.

Furthermore, it appears that Arthur Guinness wasn't even among the upper echelons of this particular clan.

Presidential links

While the McCartans may not have had the social standing of the Magennises, they can count among their descendants none other than former French president Charles De Gaulle. De Gaulle's great-grandmother was Marie Angelique McCartan.

To cloud the issue even further, the McCartan spiritual home is a townland called Guiness (note the absence of an 'n') near Ballynahinch.

If this has whetted your appetite to delve deeper into the life and times of Arthur Guinness, you could pick up a copy of Arthur's Round: The Life and Times of Brewing Legend Arthur Guinness.

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23 Nov 07 |  Business

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