Lord Iveagh and Lord Ardilaun

Lord Iveagh and Lord Ardilaun

In Brief

The two rich men that Bloom thinks of in connection with "porter" in Lotus Eaters, "Lord Iveagh" and "lord Ardilaun," were partners in a large Dublin brewery. Just how large and how rich may be imagined by anyone who knows their non-noble names: Edward Cecil Guinness and Arthur Edward Guinness.

Read More

Arthur and Edward were the first and third sons, respectively, of Sir Benjamin Guinness, who was the grandson of the Guinness who founded Dublin's most famous brewery. Arthur, who was named after his great-grandfather, sold his share of the business to his brother in 1876. In 1880 he was made Baron Ardilaun of Ashford Castle in County Galway, where he became a great landlord owning 33,000 acres. Edward, the younger brother, oversaw the transformation of what was now his business into a public company in 1886 and became the richest man in Ireland by virtue of his stock holdings. In addition to being the 1st Baronet of Ashford and the baronet of Castle Knock in County Dublin, and much later Viscount Selveden in England's Suffolk County, in 1891 he was made Baron Iveagh of Iveagh in County Down, a newly created peerage.

Both Anglo-Irish brothers put their fabulous wealth to philanthropic use. Edward established charitable trusts to clear tenements and build affordable housing for the poor in Dublin and London. He also funded institutes for medical research in England, contributed money for the construction of buildings at both of Dublin universities, and donated land for the Iveagh Gardens south of St. Stephen's Green, now a public park. Arthur donated money to restore Marsh's Library and to expand the Coombe Lying-in Hospital. He also aided a movement to conserve the wild lands around Killarney and spearheaded the project of converting St. Stephen's Green from a blighted field into an elegant urban park. That park now contains busts and larger statues of various Irish luminaries, and one dedicated to Lord Ardilaun's memory stands on the western edge.

Bloom does not think of the philanthrophic enterprises but only of the wealth: "Lord Iveagh once cashed a sevenfigure cheque for a million in the bank of Ireland. Shows you the money to be made out of porter." Of Arthur Guinness he thinks, "Still the other brother lord Ardilaun has to change his shirt four times a day, they say. Skin breeds lice or vermin." Commenting on this strange report, Gifford notes that in a letter Joyce described Ardilaun as "morose and charitable." There is evidence of a morose temperament. In 2018 an RTE documentary observed that when Sir Hugh Lane asked him to contribute money to the modern art gallery he wanted to establish on the western edge of St. Stephen's Green (the same gallery that meant so much to W. B. Yeats), Ardilaun replied, "Are you mad? I will not have myself stand sentry to a picture palace like some giddy huckster." As far as I know, however, there is no evidence of his biliousness having caused skin problems.

Joyce returned to the Guinness brothers in Cyclops, augmenting their names with beer barrel stoppers: "Terence O'Ryan heard him and straightway brought him a crystal cup full of the foamy ebon ale which the noble twin brothers Bungiveagh and Bungardilaun brew ever in their divine alevats, cunning as the sons of deathless Leda. For they garner the succulent berries of the hop and mass and sift and bruise and brew them and they mix therewith sour juices and bring the must to the sacred fire and cease not night or day from their toil, those cunning brothers, lords of the vat."

JH 2022
 Edward Cecil Guinness, the 1st Earl of Iveagh, in a 1904 oil on canvas portrait by Sir William Orpen. Source: www.sirwilliamorpen.com.