Ireland’s no.1 tourist attraction is planning a multi-million euro expansion that will see it double the size of its Gravity Bar.

Around €16 million will be spent on the the Guinness Storehouse upgrade by drinks maker Diaego. The company hopes to start the building work, which is subject to planning permission, early next year and reach completion in 2019, just ahead of the Dublin attraction’s 20th anniversary. It willl continue trading throughout the construction period. Last year the Storehouse welcomed 1.6 million tourists.

Capacity of the Gravity Bar will be increased from about 250 people to a maximum of 550. The panoramic bar is the Irish capital’s tallest drinking spot, which visitors can enjoy at the end of their Storehouse tour. Every area the building at St James’ gate has been revitalised since the attraction opened in 2000, but the bar had been overlooked.

“Since the Storehouse opened, right up until this year, we have invested in the region of €28m,” deputy general manager Joe Higgins told the Irish Independent. “Listening to our visitors, comfort levels [in the Gravity Bar] were becoming a concern. Having invested in every other area, this was an obvious one to focus on. The dwell time can go up and all of our visitors can take in even better panoramic views of the city.”

*Guinness Storehouse managing director Paul Carty, now in his 18th year at the helm of the Dublin attraction, has been named chairman of Ireland’s newly established Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions (AVEA).

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