A new radio feature exploring the world-within-a-world that was Guinness’s Brewery in the '60s and '70s
The latest radio documentary to be broadcast by Newstalk 106 – 108fm as part of it’s weekly Documentary On Newstalk series is ‘Brewery Days’, in which IMRO-nominated producer Brian Gallagher explores the lives of those who worked in the world-within-a-world that was Guinness’s Brewery in the Sixties and Seventies.
Brewery Days broadcasts on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 10th May at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 16th May at 9pm
Using a lively mix of interviews, location recordings, sound effects, and topical news stories and music, Brewery Days follows the journey of one employee from boyhood to manhood in Ireland’s most famous brewery.
The narrator tells of passing the Boys’ Examination and starting work in the Brewery the same month that Nelson’s Pillar was demolished.
Guinness historian Willie Mullen tells of how the Boys’ Examination was sent to Trinity College for marking, and we follow in the narrator’s footsteps as he starts work in the Brewery Laboratory, and begins his exploration of the fascinating world of the 64-acre Guinness plant, with its underground trains, electricity power station, and company fire brigade and police.
We hear how the company was progressive in many ways, yet had an old-fashioned pecking order that seemed to hanker after the past.
Paul Carty of Diageo explains how times have moved on, and how the company has made an unused building into The Storehouse, now one of Dublin’s top visitor attractions.
To a background of late Sixties music and news, the narrator describes his experiences in the the Brewery, and Alan Clarke, a former employee, tells of the company’s outstanding sports facilities at Crumlin Road.
Anne Manners reminisces about her status as a “Lady Clerk” and of causing a stir on meeting her future husband in the Guinness Table Tennis Club.
We hear from the narrator how with the advent of the Seventies the company branched out into pleasure cruising, and Jean Roche tells of the arrival of computerisation in Guinness.
The narrator recalls social change finally altering the conservative mores of the Brewery, and the shock in the workplace when the first time and motion studies were carried out
In the wider world Ireland joined the EEC and the Vietnam War ended, and then the narrator, after seven colourful years, takes voluntary redundancy, and leaves the Brewery to start his new life...
Quotes from Brewery Days:
“Some very clever person came up with the idea of using the Storehouse, which had been lying vacant. And now it’s Ireland’s number one fee-paying attraction.” Paul Carty, Diageo.
“You had handball, bowls, tennis, soccer, gaelic, pitch and putt, rugby, hockey, cricket, table tennis, snooker and darts -The Iveagh Ground was a mecca.” Alan Clarke, former Guinness employee.
“The first time I asked her out she wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not, because it was April Fools’ Day” Michael Manners. “I met loads of people at the Guinness table tennis club – including my future husband.” Anne Manners.
“The early Seventies was the cusp of change between the old manual way of brewing and the new, more automated way of brewing that we do now.” Eibhlinn Roche, archivist.
“We were involved in a very competitive situation with our sister brewery in London, and it was always kind of held over us that there was a possibility that they could take over the Irish trade.” Bob Kerr, former brewer.
“The punch room had about fourteen girls; the main frame computer had a huge room to itself and its own air conditioning; and the hard drives were mini-cabinets.” Jean Roche, former computer operator.
CREDITS: Brewery Days was produced by Brian Gallagher, and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.
BROADCAST: The radio premiere of Brewery Days airs on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 10th May at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 16th May at 9pm
PODCAST SERIES: Brewery Days is broadcast as part of the Documentary and Drama On Newstalk Series, which showcases the best of original, homegrown and groundbreaking Irish Radio features. Podcast full series here: