Happy birthday Guinness!

Ireland is celebrating today as its national drink marks its 250 th birthday – and millions of Guinness fans all over the world will be joining in the festivities by raising a glass of the black stuff – whilst hoards of tourists are expected to flock to the Irish capital this weekend…

In a boon for the Irish tourism sector, the famous black stuff has drawn a huge number of tourists this weekend as part of its birthday celebrations.

The first pint of Ireland's unofficial national drink was brewed way back in 1759 and it has been delighting pub-goers ever since.

Guinness has become a staple of the Irish diet and in the past it was even given free to nursing mothers in hospitals and to people who gave blood.

Some 10 million pints are now downed every day in 150 countries and the company still directly employs 2,200 and an estimated 20,000 indirectly.

Rory Guinness, a great-great-great-great-great-grandson of founder Arthur Guinness, said it was a great day for the family and for the iconic brand.

"One of the keys to Guinness is the fact that it comes from Ireland, because the country is what supplies the wonderful barley, the water, all the magic ingredients to go into make such a delicious pint.

"That is Ireland and those years of history and those years of scientific expertise that has gone into perfecting the drink," he said.

The Guinness factory in Dublin attracts thousands of tourists ever year and is the city's most famous tourist attraction.

The family's legacy includes more than just the famous factory – it also covers the foreign ministry building in the city and parks such as Stephen's Green and the Iveagh gardens.

The Irish capital has become a mecca for stag and hen dos – attracted by the party atmosphere in the world famous Temple bar district in the heart of the city, which is bursting with pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs.

Parties are being held starting today and continuing over the weekend in Ireland and all over the world, to toast the Guinness founder and enjoy a pint of the world's most famous stout.

Live music is planned in 33 pubs in Guinness's home city.

Picture by SteveFE