Mayor John Coonan
Mayor of Kilkenny City John Coonan is calling on Diageo to engage with the local authority on how to save the Smithwick's Experience following the shock announcement of its closure this afternoon.
The award-winning tourist attraction in Parliament Street was a favourite among visitors to the city and was also loved by locals as it told the social history of the Smithwick's brewery in Kilkenny.
"This is devastating news. A spokesperson for Diageo contacted me earlier today and I told her I was very disappointed. It was an incredible way to receive the news. No effort was made with the local authority before making the decision.
"As Mayor I have to consider how invaluable the Smithwick's Experience is both to tourism and to Kilkenny itself. It documents over hundreds of years of history right back to the start of brewing in Kilkenny.
"Smithwick's and the brewery and brewing are a central and pivotal part of our heritage in Kilkenny. I am calling for consultation between Diageo and the local authority to ensure the continuation of the Smithwick's Experience.
"I am asking that no effort be spared and that all options are looked into so that the Smithwick's Experience can be saved. Smithwick's is what we are famous for here in Kilkenny," he added.
Diageo issued a statement earlier today announcing that the Smithwick's Experience is to close permanently.
The Smithwick's Experience been closed since March 2020, the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and has been unable to open due to restrictions, social distancing requirements and the lack of international visitors, which has been the mainstay of the centre.