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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Guinness Label's

Source: eBay & Terry Curran

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Guinness labels (1880-1968)

Guinness labels were first put on bottles in 1880s

The first recorded pub to be issued official Guinness trade-mark labels (using the Brian Boru Harp symbol) was Clarkes public house, Capel Street, Dublin in 1897.

The practice of putting the publicans name on Guinness labels officially stopped in 1968. This was mainly due to new Health and Safety rules that were introduced in 1968. These were strict rules compelling the publican to have a tiled room off the bottling area for labelling and other hygienic rules that were to expensive to comply with. By 1974 the wholesale bottling companies like Savage Smith, O'Byrnes and so forth had completely taken over the bottling and labelling of Guinness.

From 1910 Guinness labels had characteristic date codes. Read in pairs from right to left, gives the day, month, and year of bottling. This coded practice of dating labels started in 1910 and ceased in 1953.

Collecting Guinness labels can be fascinating. Some show different variations in the amount of strings in the harp - also the way they are often printed off centre, some are oval, some square, some round.

There are at least seven known distinct styles of label design. But that does not include the very rare Invalid Stout and other 'specially designed for the publican' labels.

Original Green Guinness Bottle with Label in Irish from Bagenalstown Co Carlow.

Neck is embossed with S/E mark (Saorstat Eireann/Irish Free State) c.1940, Half pint bottle. Label reads- Extra Stout Guinness Bottled by Aine Ni Riain Teach Iarnrod Muinebeag

Label translates to Anne Ryan, Railway House, Bagenalstown The base is also embossed IGB signifying manufacture by the Irish Glass Bottle Company, Ringsend, Dublin.

Source: eBay

Anne Ryan, Railway House, Bagenalstown. Co Carlow
Aine Ni Riain, Teach Iarnrod. Muinebeag - Translates:
Anne Ryan, Railway House, Bagnalstown. Co Carlow
The Royal Oak Tavern is a pub steeped in history. Now owned my Matty Byrne, of course the locals just call it Matty's.
Here is a old Guinness label. Back then you could either bottle the beer yourself (which means more profit), or just buy it bottled allready.
Rare Irish Carlow Guinness Pub Label c1960
Very few labels were printed in Irish. But not only that, this particular label style lasted only a few years before the Guinness Brewery took over from the publicans, the task of labeling all bottles.
This is how the labels were posted to the publican at the time.
Extremely fine paper was used on Guinness Labels. It is not possible nowadays to reproduce this very fine thin paper.
Whenever required, a ream of labels was posted to the publican - each of these reams contained approximately 660 labels. Guinness labels were never pre-glued. The publicans prepared their own wall-paper paste. There was a knack in holding the label - butterfly fashion and dipping into the paste - and slapping it on to the bottle!
This one is from Cummins pub on Main St., Newbridge, Co. Kildare. The pub's original owner was John Cummins as stated on the label. There is a family tradition among the Newbridge Cummins that they are distant cousins of the Castledermot (Co. Kildare) Cummins, which would make them descendants of the Cummins of Castlemore, Co. Carlow. Unfortunately, the exact connection and relationship has been lost in history.
Cummins Pub in Newbridge is currently owned and run by Con Cummins, grandson of the original owner. Con's brother is V. Rev. John Cummins, Administrator of Carlow Cathedral.
The photo of the pub was taken by me in September 2007.
Sue Clement
Patrick Doyle, Main Street, Castledermot, Co. Kildare.c1968
Doyle’s Pub on Main Street, Castledermot, Co. Kildare, that goes with the Guinness label on the left. This photo was just taken last month – Sept ’07. The Pub is currently run by the son of the original Pat Doyle, also called Pat. Pat Doyle (the father) was married to Angela Murphy, daughter of William Murphy and Mary Anne Aughney. Mary Anne Aughney was born in Roscat, Co. Carlow, near Tullow. The Aughneys, her relatives, still live in Roscat and nearby.
Sue Clement
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2001 County Carlow Genealogy IGP