When Dublin became Blackpool: what’s in a name?

Last week I attended the Northern Powerhouse Starter Services Trade Mission to Dublin. As well as meeting so many new people, and learning about opportunities in the Irish market, I also found out some interesting facts on my travels.

First up was Storm Agnes, which made for some nervous passengers flying across the Irish Sea. While waiting to depart, I found out where Agnes had actually come from. The Met Office comes up with a list of potential storm names each season and works through them alphabetically. This year’s list features “those who work to keep people safe in times of severe weather” and so Agnes was named after Irish astronomer and science writer, Agnes Mary Clerke.

Guinness is good for Agnes

As we met up at the Aloft Hotel, shaking from the high winds and driving rain that greeted us on the Emerald Isle, our welcoming pints of Guinness were just what we needed. The Guinness Enterprise Centre was also the venue for the main presentations on the Trade Mission. Having enjoyed my first pint(s) of the black stuff in Dublin since pre-COVID days, I wondered where the brand name came from as I sat so close to the original Guinness site? 

According to the Guinness Storehouse, this is a tribute to Arthur Guinness, the original Master Brewer, who was just 34 when he signed the iconic 9,000-year lease, on a then-disused brewery site on 31 December 1759 for an annual rent of £45. On this four-acre site, Arthur honed his craft and laid the foundations for the global brand that Guinness is today.

Black is the new green

And it was Dublin’s fair city (if you know the song) that came to the fore in the closing – and for me, most memorable – speech of the day. This came from Colm Reilly, one of the delegates representing OCO Global who, as part of his insights on how to approach the Irish market, revealed what the name “Dublin” meant… 

The Vikings named the spot where the River Liffey and its tributary, the River Poddle, meet as the “Dubh Linn” or “black pool”. Ironically, the most popular tourist attraction in Dublin is now the Guinness Storehouse, the interactive, seven-storey structure that showcases the history and process behind Ireland’s most famous export – a distinctive black and creamy stout!

Huge thanks to: the Department for Business and Trade for selecting RED to attend the Northern Powerhouse event and making it all happen; the British Irish Chamber of Commerce for making us feel so welcome; the Guinness Enterprise Centre for hosting the presentations, networking lunch and tour of their impressive facility; and OCO Global for guiding us so well through the challenges of the Irish market before and during the event.

It was a pleasure to meet organisers Philip and Kate, who looked after us so well, and fellow delegates: Claire, Eddie, Jamie, Mark, Michael, Siobhan, Sujita, Tim and Umar. Here’s to our collective and cooperative future success in the Irish market.