Thursday 26 April 2018

Lonely Planet names Kilkenny tour among its hottest attractions for 2015

Brewing up a storm

Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

A 'perfect pint of ale' and multimedia tour has propelled Kilkenny's new Smithwick's Experience onto Lonely Planet's list of hot attractions for 2015.

Which of the planet’s amazing experiences are on your wish list this year?

That’s the question asked by Lonely Planet in the opening pages of 'New in Travel', the travel brand's latest ebook, which lists 26 hot attractions for 2015.

Among the attractions, which range from Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter to tribal homestays at Papua New Guinea, is the Smithwick's Experience in Kilkenny.

The €3.5 million attraction, which opened last July, offers visitors the opportunity "to experience every aspect of the brewing process, culminating (of course) with a tasting – or two – of that perfect pint of ale," Lonely Planet's destination gurus say.

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Smithwicks Experience, Kilkenny

The Smithwick's Experience on Parliament Street, Kilkenny

The travel bible has "scoured the
 globe to find the most awesome new attractions," it tells us, offering 26 new arrivals for travellers "bored of beaches or sick of the same old sights."

The Smithwick's Experience celebrates "Ireland's oldest beer" in a multimedia tour starting on the site of the Abbey of St. Francis on Parliament Street.

Holograms, Franciscan monks (played by actors) and living portraits of Smithwick family members tell the story of a brewery that grew "from humble origins to a worldwide brand".

Read more: Ireland one of Top 10 countries to visit in 2015 - Lonely Planet

The tour (www.smithwicksexperience.com) takes 70 minutes, costs €12/4, and ends with a gift shop offering "tipple-friendly merchandise," as Lonely Planet puts it.

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The Smithwicks Experience, Kilkenny

Visitors enjoying The Smithwick's Experience in Kilkenny.

Located in an old Victorian brewing building on Parliament Street in Kilkenny, the Experience was bankrolled by Diageo Ireland (which owns the brand), and is modelled on the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland’s top ticketed visitor attraction.

"Wow," said Manager Mark McGovern, who first learned of the news when contacted this morning by Independent.ie Travel.

"I wish we could get news like this every January!"

Since it opened last July, some 25 nationalities have visited, he says.

"Almost all of our staff are from Kilkenny, so they have a real sense of pride to be working here. It means a huge amount to them to be recognised by Lonely Planet."

The immersive tour is seen as a key component in the development of Kilkenny's ‘Medieval Mile’ - which runs from Kilkenny Castle to St. Canice’s Cathedral, and should feature as part of Fáilte Ireland's forthcoming 'Heritage Proposition' for the south and east.

Recently, Lonely Planet listed Ireland among its Top 10 countries to visit in 2015.

New in Travel is available to download free here.

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