The Smithwick's Experience visitor attraction in Kilkenny is now offering "sensory-friendly" hours for people with autism and sensory-sensitive people.

The former brewery site has launched the initiative in partnership with the national autism charity AsIAm and last week began with the first of what will initially be one sensory morning a month before increasing those hours as it gauges demand.

Similar sensory-friendly hours will also be offered at other Diageo-owned visitor sites from January, at both the Guinness Storehouse and the Roe & Co Distillery in Dublin.

As an accredited AsIAm visitor attraction, Smithwick's Experience Kilkenny will provide designated low-sensory tours and the early sensory-friendly days will include noise and light reduction.

This will involve turning down music, dimming lighting and more. All three experiences will also offer one free carer ticket per customer, if required.

All three Diageo attractions will offer sensory kits at their reception areas, along with visual guides of the buildings and sensory maps year-round.

During the designated sensory-friendly tours, additional signage will be placed around the buildings, marking high sensory areas.

Staff at all three sites have been trained by to better understand how to cater to customers with autism or neuro divergencies.

Manager of Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny Ignacio Peregrina said: "This accreditation is an example of how the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny team and teams at our other sites are working with partners to ensure that our attractions are accessible for all guests, and to help everyone create unforgettable memories at our experiences.

"It has been enlightening for our team to work with AsIAm to receive extensive autism sensitivity and awareness training, which will help the way we interact with all visitors, but especially those with sensory sensitivities."

AsIAm conducted reviews of the visitor attractions to provide recommendations to increase accessibility and help visitors prepare for their visit, including sensory guide signage, customised tours, and adaptions to the customer experience.

AsIAm CEO Adam Harris said: "It has been a pleasure working with the team to educate their staff, assess the environments and to help enhance these amazing experiences to ensure that autistic visitors, their families, and those who process the sensory environment differently, get the same chance to enjoy these wonderful visitor attractions.

"These partnerships with industry leaders are essential to create more inclusive and welcoming experiences for all."