Thursday, August 26, 2010

300 Years of Smithwick's

I've written more then once about Guinness' landmark 250 year birthday celebrations but what many people don't realise is that Guinness isn't Ireland's oldest pint, and St. James's Gate isn't Ireland's oldest brewery! 2010 marks the 300 year birthday for the Smithwick's St. Francis Abbey Brewery in Kilkenny. To celebrate the colossal milestone, the brewery has thrown open it's doors and is inviting the public to tour the brewery.

The latest addition to the rich cultural offering of Kilkenny, allows members of the public to experience a fully guided tour of the famous site, walking in and around the buildings and areas of the Brewhouse where Smithwick’s is actually brewed. The tour also takes in the stunning medieval St. Francis Abbey which sits on the site of the brewery and dates back to the 13th century.

Ian Hamilton, Operations Manager at St Francis Abbey Brewery commented: “For many years, visitors to Kilkenny and locals alike have wanted to take a tour of Ireland’s oldest brewery. In celebration of our 300 year anniversary this year, we are delighted to be able to open our doors to the public, and give them a rare glimpse behind the historic walls of St. Francis Abbey Brewery”.

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited down to Kilkenny to experience the tour myself and see exactly what it's all about. The first stop on the Smithwick's tour was The Cellar Bar where we met our lovely tour guide, Suzanne.

From The Cellar Bar, Suzanne brought us out into the original brewery courtyard and gave us a run through of the history behind the Smithwick's family's long brewing heritage and the various ups and downs that the brewery experienced in 300 years. From here we were shown out and around the main building to St. Francis Abbey. The abbey itself is a beautiful building, though obviously in ruins, that really gives a sense of history and contrast to the modern building around it.

The next stop was the Tasting Room, where Smithwick’s official tasters check and ensure the quality of every brew. Here there's a short video explaining the brewing process. After the Tasting Room it was on to the brewery floor to see the fermentation and maturation processes in action before finally finishing up the tour up with a tutored tasting session back in The Cellar Bar with a complimentary pint of Smithwick's.

For our particular tasting session we were lucky enough to have Ian Hamilton and Billy Power, Global Quality and Program Director, on hand to help us out. Basically we had the two single most qualified people possible to bring us through the subtlety and complexity that sits before you in a pint of Smithwick's. To say I felt lucky is a complete understatement. Ian and Billy were full of craic and happy to answer any and all questions that our group had, from what Smithwick's target customer is to what to look for in taste, aroma and appearance in a pint (see here!).

Beyond the tour itself, the brewery also now offers visitors the chance to experience the story of the evolution of the St Francis Abbey Brewery. From the founding of the Abbey in the 13th century to the present, the story is brought to life through visuals, artefacts, pictures and audio in the new exhibition space. The exhibit covers the generations of the Smithwick’s family involved in the Brewery, the ingredients & brewing processes, the prestigious brewing awards won since 1892, and the advertising and packaging of Smithwick’s.

In short, there is a whole lot to see and experience and every bit of it is well worth it. Smithwick's have developed a really great attraction here and something that I would highly recommend to every visitor, not just to Kilkenny but to Ireland.

Tour Details
The Smithwick's brewery tour takes approximately 1.5 hours, is fully guided and includes a complimentary drink in the Cellar Bar. Tours run from Tuesday to Saturday inclusive at 12:30, 13:00, 15:00 and 15:30 daily. The tour is closed on Sunday and Monday. Admission is €10 and all visitors must be over 18.

Booking Office: Call +353 (0)56 779 64 98.
E Mail:
Advance booking recommended.

Wheelchair Access:
St. Francis Abbey Brewery is a production facility. Therefore, we regret that we cannot cater for wheelchair users or persons with impaired mobility due to the structure and layout of our 300 year old site.

For your safety, please wear appropriate footwear (i.e. no high heels or open toe shoes).

Full details can be found at

Adidas Originals Street Art Competition

Champion Sports have just launched a pretty cool competition to find Ireland’s most talented urban artists to create an original piece of street art that will embrace the theme of ‘celebrating originality meets street art’. The prize is a masterclass with Krooked Type and the chance to get your art displayed on your own billboard. The competition is part of the launch campaign for the brand new adidas Originals clothing and footwear range.

The winner will get a two-day masterclass featuring Maser, Albert Hooi and Fraher, which should be a dream come true to any budding young artist. Or even a 30-something scribbler to be honest ;) Krooked Type will be judging all entries.

The new adidas Originals range is driven by adidas' history and looks to bring the spirit of adidas’ past and present to life in a fresh and modern range. The range combines typical adidas quality and materials with creative and luxurious street fashion, creating urban wear that blends timeless and modern designs echoing the brand’s heritage.

Coinciding with the competition, and offering a great place to pick up some inspiration, adidas and Champion Sports have specially commissioned a new collection by Maser. His ‘Originals-inspired’ street art installation can be seen at The Bernard Shaw, Richmond Street, Dublin 2, as part of the launch of the new adidas Originals range.

Speaking about the campaign, Emily Barry, Marketing Executive, Champion Sports said, “We are truly excited at the launch of the adidas Originals range in our stores. It has been a great experience to work with Krooked Type on the installation, which we feel really celebrates the spirit of both the Champion Sports and adidas Originals brands. We’re looking forward to receiving lots of entries to the Street Art competition and working with the winners to create their very own billboard!”

To enter simply email your artwork to before Friday 8th October. Submitted entries will be uploaded to the Champion Sports Facebook page, as they are received. The three winning finalists will be announced on or around Monday 11th October.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Arthur's Day 2010: More Bands, More Artists & More Tickets

The last time I posted about Arthur's Day 2010 I was able to confirm venues and artists but the specifics weren't available. Since then not only have tickets gone on sale, and sold out!, but all the venues obviously had their respective artists finally confirmed. Unfortunately though, as I said, ticket sales were exceptional and many venues sold out almost straight away. Today, however, I am happy to pass on the very good news that Guinness has announced that a limited number of additional Arthur’s Day tickets for all studio venues will be released for sale at 9am tomorrow (Tuesday, 24th August) via Ticketmaster.

What could make this news any better? Guinness have also announced over 15 additional artists that have been added to the Arthur's Day line up including Manic Street Preachers, David Gray, Cathy Davey and Oscar-winning actor turned musician Tim Robbins & The Rogues Gallery Band. There have also been several new talents added to the line up such as Ty, The Courteeners, Biffy Clyro and Bitches with Wolves.

Speaking about Arthur’s Day, Manic Street Preachers said, “Some of our greatest gigs have been in Ireland; we really do have very special memories of playing there. From a tiny show for our first label Heavenly to playing Slane Castle and everything in between. The atmosphere will no doubt be amazing and we’re proud to a part of what is fast becoming one of Ireland’s biggest days of the year”.

While David Gray commented that "Coming back to Ireland is always a great experience for me and the band, particularly being back in Galway! It was amazing to be part of the celebrations last year and to support the Arthur Guinness Fund. We are really looking forward to getting the chance to play some of the new tunes as well as some old faves in such an amazing location. Cheers Arthur!"

New additions to the Arthur’s Day line up:

Studio Artists
Manic Street Preachers
David Gray
Tim Robbins & the Rogues Gallery Band
Biffy Clyro
The Courteeners
Cathy Davey
Pub Artists
David Kitt
Oliver Cole
Fight Like Apes
Bitches with Wolves
Ryan Sheridan
Carly Connor

New Arthur's Day Artists

Orla Flanagan, Guinness Brand Manager said, “We are excited about the new acts added to the line up. We wanted to hold back some tickets so that fans of our newly announced artists including Manic Street Preachers and David Gray got an opportunity to see their favourite bands. The real magic of Arthur’s Day is that all the studio artists will also make a surprise appearance in an Arthur’s Day pub venue. Fans that purchase pub tickets will not only see great pub artists but also see artists like Brandon Flowers, Snow Patrol or Paolo Nutini play in a pub for €5 which is an exciting element of Arthur’s Day”.

The Arthur's Day celebrations will begin at 17:59 at St James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin on 23rd September. The celebration will then continue with activities and events at various locations in Ireland and throughout Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. The full line up now stands as follows:

Studio Venues
St James’ GateSnow Patrol
Manic Street Preachers
Biffy Clyro
Our Thursdays Winner
The AcademyBrandon Flowers
Plan B
José González
Slow Club
Tim Robbins & The Rogues Gallery Band
Olympia TheatreCarbon/Silicon
Cathy Davey
The Chapters
Our Thursdays Finalist
Vicar StreetThe Maccabees
The Hoosiers
Eliza Doolittle
The Courteeners
The VillageKelis
Tinie Tempah
We Have Band
Folan Quay, Galway HarbourDavid Gray
Newton Faulkner
The Magic Numbers
Sharon Shannon
Our Thursdays Finalist
Savoy, CorkPaolo Nutini
Kt Tunstall
The View
O Emperor
Our Thursdays Finalist

PUB VENUESEach pub will also welcome a surprise performance on the night from a studio artist
The Baggot InnHeathers
David Kitt
The BankJoey Negro & The Sunburst Band
The Brazen HeadThe Shoos
Sparrow and the Workshop
BruxellesSparrow and The Workshop
DakotaThe Milk
Bitches with Wolves
Doheny & NesbittJohn Spillane
The Boy Who Trapped the Sun
Ryan Sheridan
Flannery’sMolotov Jukebox
The GeorgeBitches with Wolves
Dirty Epics
OdeonOliver Cole
Butterfly Explosion
O’Donoghue’sDavid Kitt
The Chapters
Oliver St. John Gogarty’sThe High Kings
Oliver Cole
The Palace BarThe Boy Who Trapped the Sun
John Spillane
PygmalionThe Dirty 9s
The Rags
SinnottsFight Like Apes
The Stag’s HeadThe Rags
Ryan Sheridan
The Temple BarBroken Records
The High Kings
WhelansDirty Epics
Butterfly Explosion

Kelly’sDuke Special
Róisín DubhA Band Called Wanda
Plus Special Guest
TaaffesJohnny Flynn
Plus Special Guest
Tigh CóilíA Band Called Wanda
Johnny Flynn

Crane Lane TheatreCarly Connor
Old OakDirector
Simon Fagan
The PavilionMick Flannery
Simon Fagan
ReardensMick Flannery
Carly Connor

Further Information: Arthur Guinness Fund
The Arthur Guinness Fund supports the emerging sector of social entrepreneurship in Ireland. In April this year, Guinness assigned €1 million to ten social entrepreneurs with each of their projects receiving €100,000 and additional support and expertise from Diageo Ireland and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. A further €1.5 million will be used to support future Irish social entrepreneurs in the coming years.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cee Lo Green: F**K YOU

This is one of the best examples of Kinetic Typography, and a severely catchy tune to boot. Listen and love!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Golden Pages iPhone App Viral

Following on from my post about the Golden Pages event on Wednesday to promote the company's 40th Birthday and the launch of their new iPhone App, the Golden Pages have released the following video. Fairly slick and awesome imho. Check it out...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ray Bans & Augmented Reality

Nice bit of extended Augmented Reality from the chaps at Ray Bans. Check it out...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Golden Pages

Next Wednesday the Golden Pages is unveiling an exciting new development. I'm not sure what it is just yet but it looks like it's going to be a cool evening. Stay tuned...