Enjoy Ireland's Ancient East, where magic becomes myth and the history of the land has been 5,000 years in the making. Enveloping 17 counties, the rolling hills of the East encompass the Land of 5,000 Dawns in the North, the Historic Heartlands and the Celtic Coast in the South.
When you visit the Smithwick's Experience, you're walking through a site and a city that is embedded into the rich tapestry of the region's Historic Heartlands. Kilkenny has played a hugely important role in the 5,000-year history of the region, with its medieval heritage forming the centrepiece. The Medieval Mile in Kilkenny wraps itself around the heart of the city and holds secrets to the city's ancient past, with a castle that was traded for a song and a monastery that began brewing a simple ale that would later form the bedrock for Smithwick's Ale. Intertwined into this history and heritage comes tales of intrigue, adversity and adventure.
Some of the best storytellers in the world can be found in Ireland's Ancient East, and Smithwick's in Kilkenny has quite the story to tell, all the way back to the 13th century, in fact. Brewing on the site where Ireland's most popular ale was born started with the Franciscan monks who brewed ale as a way to avoid drinking tainted water. It was then called St. Francis Abbey and is still visible from Parliament Street today.
Fast forward 173 years to 1710. The St. Francis Abbey had been closed for this time due to penal laws, but was about to be reinvigorated by John Smithwick, who arrived in Kilkenny looking to set up a business venture. He soon began to understand what made the land perfect for brewing-limestone-rich water, easy access to hops and barley, and deep brewing roots from the monks who tread the land before him.
John Smithwick set up the brewery, but its continued success resides with the family members that took the reigns over the years.
The history of Smithwick's is one of many unique stories that await you when you visit Ireland's Ancient East. Come and see what awaits you.
We are open 7 days a week
March - October: 10.00am - 6.00pm (last admission is at 5pm)
November - February: 11.00am – 5.00pm (last admission at 4pm)
Stroll through the centuries on the Smithwick's Experience Kilkenny interactive tour
Multilingual audio guides let you experience the Smithwick's story your way
The Smithwick's and Smithwick's Experience Kilkenny words and associated logos are trade marks © Diageo Ireland 2016
Operated by MKF Property Services Ltd., registered number 442608
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