My Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny Tour in Photo’s
I really don’t want to give too much away about the Smithwick’s Experience Tour because I really don’t want to spoil your fun. Suffice to say though, there is a very good reason Lonely Planet featured Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny as one of the ‘top 26 visitor attractions in the world to visit in 2015,’ It was also the only Irish attraction to make the global list!
Forged in Adversity, Perfected over Generations
The Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny Tour takes place inside the old Smithwick’s Brewery on Parliament Street. It’s a fine-looking building and part of it is the 13th century St. Francis Abbey where Smithwick’s began its history, so you shouldn’t miss it. When my tour entered we entered to the rear of the building through a lovely courtyard that will one day host experiences of its own and become history in the making.
We were met by Mark McGovern the Manager of the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny who gave us a friendly welcome and brief introduction to Smithwick’s. However it was Simon and his tour guide skills that took from our starting point through the old but yet new Smithwick’s Brewery. Simon worked in the brewery when it was a working one, so too did his dad so there was real knowledge, passion and a love behind his talk.
The interior of the Smithwick’s Experience is very authentic with some area’s baring the old abbey walls, the brewery walls and exposed pipes. Look out for the monks who play a part in your Smithwick’s Experience by teaching you some of its ancient history and look forward to a special room with very unique seating and extremely special paintings and on that note I’ll say no more as I don’t want to spoil that surprise … which you’ll get when you’re greeted by the giant gas mask.
It’s an interactive tour that I feel appeals to all ages, young and old. You get to sample how to work machinery, you can feel the heat in the malt room, you can mix your own mash, taste the ‘Sweet Wort’ and smell the different grains used in brewing. You learn the science of brewing a fun and interesting way.
Fun and interactive history and science lessons aside, all this subconscious learning can be thirsty stuff so there is no better place to end a Smithwick’s Tour than in the Smithwick’s Bar.
Mark who joined us there mentioned that all the furniture is the original furniture from the brewery which is a lovely touch. He also mentioned where the Smithwick’s Bar stood was once a very old and dilapidated part of the brewery so my suggestion was if they have the photo’s of the progress and transformation then show them on the walls of the bar – that’s something I’d love to see.
When in the Smithwick’s Bar we were treated to a cold and refreshing pint. However we were also treated to the newly released tasting paddles that included Smithwick’s, Smithwick’s Blonde and Smithwick’s Pale Ale. A great idea and one I’m sure will be a massive hit.
We were also treated to a guest appearance of Paul Smithwick who was a pleasure to listen to and shared some interesting facts and stories about the brewery when it was a working one. He brought with him a selection of very important and historical manuscripts and books with signatures from Daniel O’Connell to Mick Jagger. Amazing. I can’t promise Mr Smithwick will be there on your visit but keep an eye out as you never know.
Our tour ended in the Smithwick’s Retail Store that sells plenty of merchandise and offers a service where you can have glassware personalised – perfect for when you’re enjoying your Smithwick’s at home.
Open seven days a week from 10.00am to 6.00pm with the last admission is 5.00pm, there is ample time in the day to include the tour in your itinerary – have a read of my post A Kilkenny Experience to Remember for itinerary ideas.
Entry to the Smithwick’s Experience is ranges from free for children under six to €12.00 for an adult. However there are special group rates, family rates, student rates and a senior citizen rate too. For those whose preferred language is not English, there are free Audio Guides in German, French, Spanish and Italian.
Booking can be made online at www.smithwicksexperience.com
The Smithwick’s Experience Tour Kilkenny was an absolute pleasure and I’ll visit again some day.