Located in the heart of the Golden Vale, the FHC Experience offers visitors the opportunity to discover the rich culture, heritage and history of the region. Part of Ireland’s Ancient East, this interactive experience examines the relationship between the people, the land and the horse revealing how they are all inextricably linked. Spread out over two floors within C17th Tholsel building the interactive nature of the exhibition makes it an enjoyable and informative experience for all ages. The building, which today houses the FHC Experience, began its life as an almshouse in the early 1600s. Its construction was paid for by the Everard family, who were one of the most prominent families in Fethard at the time. At their height they owned over 80 houses and 4 castles.
Over the years, the building has been re-purposed many times. It housed the Fethard Corporation until its abolition in 1840. They were succeeded by the Town Commissioners who ran Fethard affairs until 1898. In the 20th Century, it became Fethard’s Town Hall. Every local has a recollection of attending a dance, competing in a badminton tournament or taking to the stage during its days as a theatre space. It also served as a fire station, library and marketplace during this period. The first Country Market in Ireland, founded by Olivia Hughes, took place here in 1947 and continues to do so every Friday morning. A building survey completed by Kilkenny Archaeology prior to its restoration, uncovered many original features of the building including three original fireplaces on the first floor. We’ll be happy to point them out to you during your visit to the Fethard Horse Country Experience.