Ireland’s most unusual tourist attractions

Sky Garden
There are mainstays of any tourist guide to Ireland: Kilmainham Gaol, the Guinness Brewery, the Cliffs of Moher and Newgrange are permanent fixtures on such lists, and rightly so, given their historical significance, natural beauty and access to the black stuff.
While Ireland has a rich tapestry of tourist destinations, there are attractions that we feel don’t receive the attention that they deserve. We’ve put together a short list of some of Ireland’s quirkier destinations that you may wish to consider on your next trip across the Atlantic.

 

Cork Butter Museum

While a butter museum may not sound like a must-see tourist hotspot, the Cork Butter Museum actually tells a very important story about Ireland’s development. The museum’s website describes butter as ‘Ireland’s most important food export’, and as Cork’s butter market was the world’s largest, what better place could there be to learn about something so vital to Ireland’s history? The Butter Museum includes such highlights as a 1,000 year old keg of butter, a tour of butter making through the ages and a comprehensive collection of Irish butter labels.

 

Irish Sky Garden

Located near Skibbereen, West Cork, the Irish Sky Garden is the creation of artist James Turrell. It’s a massive conceptual garden built around a huge crater that contains a central plinth. Lie on the plinth and look upwards and you’ll see the sky framed perfectly by the rim of the crater. Just keep your mouth closed if it’s raining.

 

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

Visiting a cathedral is nothing unusual for a trip to Ireland. More often than not, they’re beautiful buildings steeped in history. Where Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin differs, however, is the bizarre contents of its medieval crypt. Open to the public, Christ Church’s crypts contain a mummified cat chasing a mummified rat (mentioned by James Joyce in Finnegan’s Wake) and the heart of Laurence O’Toole (patron saint of Dublin) amongst other oddities.

Dublin Christchurch

Indian Sculpture Park

Victoria’s Way in County Wicklow is home to ’33 black granite stone sculptures and three bronzes…ranging in size from 5ft 6ins to about 15ft’. The creation of a wealthy German with a love of the Far East is behind the Indian Sculpture Park, which contains a number of stunning pieces of art. Please note that the park closes during the winter.

 

St. Michan’s Mummies

A return to the crypts for this attraction, this time at St Michan’s church in Dublin. Deep down beneath the church lie the mummified remains of some of Ireland’s most influential families of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the remains lie in incredibly ornate coffins, and all are in remarkable condition due to the dry air beneath the church. If you’re going to visit one large collection of mummies while you’re in Ireland, make it this one.

 

Source

What to do in Belfast?

logoThe SS Nomadic

Step back in time to the great age of transatlantic travel and come aboard the SS Nomadic, the mini Titanic!

SS Nomadic is Belfast’s latest maritime visitor attraction. Known as the Titanic’s little sister, the ship has been restored to its former glory.

The SS Nomadic is located in the historic Hamilton Dock on Queens Road in Belfast, just behind the Odyssey complex. Once part of the famous Harland & Wolff shipyard, nowadays the Queens Road is part of the revitalised Titanic Quarter and home to a number of Titanic related attractions.

Ask us for more details or if you would like to organise a visit!

Smithwick announce major Heritage & Tourism Initiative for Kilkenny

PRESS RELEASE
Smithwick's Brewery

SMITHWICK’S ANNOUNCE MAJOR HERITAGE AND TOURISM INITIATIVE FOR KILKENNY

€3 MILLION TO BE INVESTED INTO THE SMITHWICK’S EXPERIENCE KILKENNY

Monday, 10th June 2013: Smithwick’s today announced a €3 million investment project for Kilkenny that will see a major transformation of the existing Smithwick’s Visitor Centre into a state of the art visitor experience, ensuring the home of Ireland’s original craft beer can be enjoyed by visitors for many years to come. The Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny will be a testament to the significant role that the St. Francis Abbey Brewery and the people of Kilkenny played in shaping over 300 years of heritage, tradition and its influence on Irish cultural life. Welcoming the announcement, Gary Breen, Head of Operations for Fáilte Ireland in the South East said: “Fáilte Ireland, along with the local authority, is making a multi-million Euro tourism investment in Kilkenny as we believe that the city has a strong tourism future with great potential to grow visitors, revenue and jobs in the region. Smithwick’s have obviously recognised this and the significant investment they have announced today will deliver a state of the art visitor centre which will complement our work to grow local tourism and, as an exciting and hands-on attraction, has the potential of becoming a major magnet for increased tourist numbers to the south east”. Over the next nine months, the Victorian brewing building at St Francis Abbey Brewery, Kilkenny will be transformed into a state of the art interactive visitor centre. The Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny will be a sensory, tactile visitor experience that immerses you in Ireland’s oldest beer brand; the history, the brewing craft, the future and ultimately, tasting the pint. Visitors will be able to experience the medieval origins of brewing on the site to the arrival of the amazing John Smithwick. They will discover the Kilkenny-Smithwicks connections through the years with interactive installations bringing the story right up to date. The €3 million investment will be a major boost for the tourism potential of Kilkenny and its catchment area. Through promotion, marketing and the natural pulling power of an iconic brand, it is envisaged that the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny will welcome thousands of visitors each year. It is estimated that 40 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project and approximately 12 when the Centre opens in spring 2014. In addition it is expected there will be significant indirect employment for the Kilkenny region once opened. Speaking at the announcement of the Smithwick’s Kilkenny Experience, Mr. Phil Hogan T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government said: “The Smithwick’s Brewery has been a central part of Kilkenny for over 300 years. It is tremendous that Diageo has agreed to acknowledge this great history and tradition by establishing this visitor centre”.Mayor of Kilkenny, Cllr. Seán Ó hArgáin expressed his delight and that of the citizens of Kilkenny at the announcement of the funding today by Diageo. ‘Firstly we are hugely thankful to Diageo for their magnificent gesture last year in selling so much of this hugely important site to the people of the city for its future development by our council. To see Diageo now decide to make a decision to develop one of the country’s leading tourism attractions at the historic heart of the Smithwick’s brewery site means that a really fundamental statement of confidence is being made by the company in the future of Kilkenny. The fact that this attraction will celebrate the central importance of the tradition of brewing in Kilkenny in a contemporary and forward-looking development is the best possible way for the next part of the history of this three hundred year old complex to commence. It will also become a key component of our plans to develop the ‘Medieval Mile’ from Kilkenny Castle to St. Canice’s Cathedral and will also we hope celebrate all that the workers of Kilkenny have contributed to our development.’ Commenting on the announcement, Mr. David Smith, Diageo Country Manager said: “Diageo’s significant €3m investment today underpins the company’s commitment to Ireland and will bring added momentum to the economic growth potential of the South-East region over the near term. This is a very significant announcement for the company and represents Diageo Ireland’s largest capital expenditure announcement since the €153 expansion and re-development of the St. James’s Gate Brewery. An investment of this scale in Kilkenny will help bring renewed confidence to the entire region – confidence to invest, confidence to spend and confidence to hire. At Diageo, we value Smithwick’s and its rich legacy. We feel that this new state-of-the-art experience in Kilkenny will honour that legacy while generating substantial local economic activity for the area.” In order to secure the long term future of brewing in Ireland, a new brewing centre of excellence is being built at St. James’s Gate in Dublin and the brewery in Kilkenny is scheduled to close at the end of 2013.

You can now visit the brewery: http://www.abbeytoursireland.com/sightseeing/442/

More information can be found here: http://www.smithwicksexperience.com