Dublin culture in a mobile world


8 Mar 2011

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Grainne Millar, the head of cultural development for Temple Bar Cultural Trust, talks about the benefits of the recently launched Dublin Culture Trail, an online and mobile initiative for Dublin tourism.

Both the web and mobile technology have had a huge impact on the tourism trade. The on-demand accessibility of the web lets users extensively research the best places to go.

Mobile technology takes it further, by providing this wide scope of information in your pocket, not to mention the numerous uses GPS has brought.

Millar was aware of the need for more accessible information on Dublin’s cultural attractions.

“What we have found over the years is that when we’ve done events like Culture Night, the attendance is huge and a lot of people say it’s the first time that they’ve ever visited a cultural attraction in the city and that finding information was difficult.”

As a result, the Dublin Culture Trail was created, providing an interactive virtual trail showing off 16 of Dublin’s most famous sites, including Trinity College Dublin, the GPO and the National Museum of Ireland.

Behind the scenes

Funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport, the Dublin Culture Trail is both a website and an iPhone app which gives information, videos, maps and photographs to offer an in-depth look at these venues.

“What we really wanted to capture was a behind-the-scenes look at what happens in these places and give people the chance to meet those who work in these buildings and to bring out what was authentic and distinctive about culture in Dublin,” said Millar.

“One of the core features around that was the video work. There were 16 short films shot in each of the venues and we worked with a BAFTA award-winning camera man, Mark McCauley, to create these video pieces in order to convey the quality of our cultural attractions here in Dublin.

“We really wanted to have high quality features to show that what we have in Dublin is equal, if not more attractive. than other cities across the world,” she said.

Mobile growth

With the enormous growth of the smartphone market, I asked Millar how important it was to bring this experience to mobiles.

“It was critical because the whole use of smartphones has extended over the last number of years,” said Millar.

“The key for us is to bring culture right into the hand of the user.”

Millar said they will be releasing an Android app for the initiative in phase two of the project.

Dublin Tourism

Broadly, the ability to keep up with digital trends in tourism is vital to help attract both local and global visitors to Dublin’s cultural attractions.

“From the economic perspective, tourism is hugely important and the reasons why people come to Ireland are because of the people and the unique cultural heritage we have here,” said Millar.

“The whole point of the app and the site is to bring that right to the heart of the user so they actually get to see what makes Dublin stand out.”