A NEW E3 million visitor centre in St Francis Abbey Brewery, Kilkenny was announced this morning. It will be put together by the same team that developed the Guinness Hope Store in Dublin which is the largest paid for visitor attraction in Ireland with 1.1 million people going through the door last year.
The Smithwicks Experience Kilkenny will highlight the medieval origins of the brewery going back to the 8th century and the arrival of the Franciscan monks there.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan said it was a hugely positive development and he thanked Diageo for their commitment and for selling the 12 acre site to the people of Kilkenny for a knock-down price.
The Mayor of Kilkenny, Cllr Sean O’hArgain said that tourism was the biggest employer in the city and that the Smithwicks Experience would bring even more visitors to the city. He paid tribute to Diageo saying the new centre was hugely important philanthropic gesture.