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Raise a toast to dear old Arthur Guinness

Arthur Guinness may have had the help of some liquid courage before he signed a 9,000-year lease on a brewery in Dublin in 1759.

But 250 years later, it’s clearly worked out well. The brewery at St. James’s Gate has helped make Guinness stout one of the most successful beer brands worldwide.

Guinness may be distinctly Irish, but the celebration of its birth happened all over the world with parties, according to the beer maker’s website, being hosted in more than 150 different countries.

To celebrate what the company has dubbed “Arthur’s Day,” stout-lovers around the world lifted a glass of the foamy black brew to Arthur Thursday September 24th at 17:59 Greenwich Mean Time.

One of my memories of my first visit to Ireland’s capitol city Dublin was the large fleet of ocean going Guinness tankers moored along the River Liffey.

These crafts transported Sir Arthur’s brews to distant shores to be bottled and enjoyed by the locals. Another memory was strolling into pub and witnessing the row of Guinness pints “curing” at the bar.

The art of pouring a proper pint of Guinness was a heated pub topic throughout Ireland during this visit.

After a few samples my vote went to the publicans located around the River Liffey. Their pints were poured true and chilled properly (thanks to the geothermic properties of their proximity to the river).

Today the Guinness Store House at St. James’s Gate offers a tour that details the company’s history.

Be sure to finish at the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor. They will pour you a perfect pint (free) and you will also have a wonderful panoramic view of the fair city of Dublin.

My tribute to “Sir Arthur” was to head down river to Portsmouth town. The plan was spend a festive Thursday evening at Portsmouth Ohio’s Port City Pub & Grill (http://theportcitycafeandpub.com).

Live Irish music, plenty of good food and a smooth pint of Guinness made for a great night.

This Irish pub is a must visit for everyone looking to experience a wee bit of the “Emerald Island” in the USA.

Better yet make a day of it by visiting Portsmouth’s 2200 feet of flood wall murals, shopping for antiques and treasures in the Boneyfiddle district and touring the 1810 House.

This home is a historic old farm homestead that clearly represents the courage of pioneers who cleared, settled and cultivated the wild forest near the mighty Ohio River.

Another interesting tour stop is the Stone House is located off State Route 239 in West Portsmouth.

This structure is one of southern Ohio’s few primitive homes remaining intact and offers visitors a glimpse of the early days of Ohio. The ancient blocks were carved from a ledge of rock only a stone’s throw away and still brings attention more than two hundred years after they were laid.

For more information and itinerary ideas contact the Portsmouth-Scioto Convention and Visitors Bureau (http://ohiorivertourism.org) at 740-353-1116.

Over the years I have created and conducted ‘History Mystery” tours and have jokingly said over and over that one day I’m going to load the travelers on the bus on head over to Portsmouth. That day might not be too far off.

Changing gears… October is National Cruise Vacation Month, and October 14, 2009 is the fifth-annual World’s Largest Cruise Night (WLCN) — an event that will educate travelers on the pleasures of cruising.

The Travel Professor will have a special web site for this event. Be sure to visit http://wlcn.cruising.org/TravelProf.

Happy travels!