The Guinness Storehouse regularly tops the list of best attractions in Dublin. Now, the experience has received accreditation from Ireland’s National Autism Charity to increase accessibility, meaning it can provide an enhanced experience for all visitors but particularly those who are autistic or neurodivergent.
An exciting collaboration between the Guinness Storehouse, Roe & Co Distillery, Smithwick’s experience Kilkenny and AsIAm – Ireland’s National Autism Charity – has been underway to ensure visitors with sensory processing differences can fully engage in these attractions with confidence. As of today, all three sites are now certified as autism-friendly experiences. Following a number of trials, on the 7th November 2023 the sensory-friendly experience will officially launch at the Guinness Storehouse marking an important milestone for accessibility in Irish tourism.
What is AsIAm?
Founded in 2014, AsIAm began as an online platform for the autistic community to access information and support. It soon grew into a movement advocating for change, increased understanding, and social inclusion. As Ireland’s National Autism Charity, it works towards an inclusive society for autistic people which is “accessible, accepting and affirming”.
What is involved in Certification with AsIAm?
To provide certification, AsIAm carried out extensive reviews of the Guinness Storehouse, Roe & Co Distillery and Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny in order to provide recommendations that would increase accessibility and help all guests prepare for their visit. This included advice on sensory guide signage that would help neurodiverse visitors, recommendations on curating customised tours, and general adaptations to the overall customer experience.
What Extra Features are Involved in Making the Experiences as Inclusive as Possible?
• Training: Staff at the Guinness Storehouse, Roe & Co Distillery and Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny have undergone extensive training by AsIAm to better understand how to cater to autistic and neurodivergent visitors. This enhanced level of understanding enables them to provide the best possible experience for all guests and further increase inclusivity at these sites.
• Equipment: All three attractions will now offer sensory kits at their reception areas. Furthermore, there are also sensory trigger warning maps of all sites available for guests along with visual guides of the buildings.
• Designated low-sensory areas and tours: On chosen dates, the first tour of the day will be sensory friendly for autistic people and those accompanying them. This includes noise and light reduction across the experiences, silencing announcements, turning off experiential music, dimming lighting and more. All three experiences will also offer one complementary carer ticket per customer.
• On Site Signage: During the designated sensory friendly hours and tours, additional signage will be placed around the buildings, marking sensory triggers so guests can be aware of these in advance.
Speaking about the project, 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.”