In the 13th century, the Franciscans established St Francis Abbey in Kilkenny City, where they took up the practice of brewing. Today, the religious site is owned by Smithwick’s Brewery and is part of the Smithwick’s Experience tour.
After Richard Marshall became the earl of Pembroke in 1231, he helped establish St Francis Abbey in Kilkenny City. The abbey began as a small, rectangular chapel but grew and became more important over the years.
Its expansion came to end with the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century. In 1550 and again nine years later, the friars were expelled.
Originally, the monks practised brewing and the abbey housed two breweries. Today, the remains, primarily the nave and chancel, are part of Smithwick Brewery and feature on the Smithwick Experience tour.
Advance booking for the tour is recommended.