The tech of the Irish

11 Mar 2010

You don’t have to buy a potato sack full of orange wigs, inflatable Guinnesses and stuffed toy leprechauns to show your appreciation for Irish culture on St Patrick’s Day.

Mix one part ‘innovation nation’ and two parts ‘Hibernian culture’ and you have some clever applications to see your way through a fun, yet informative, Paddy’s Day this 17 March.

Amhrán na bhFiann from Ovi Store

They say you don’t have to be Irish to be Irish, but every Irishman worth their weight in whiskey knows that to stand silent while everyone else is belting out Amhrán na bhFiann would be the ultimate faux paddy.

The Amhrán na bhFiann application from Nokia’s Ovi Store is karaoke-style, so you can learn the words and tune for free. Result!

A little-known fact: most Irish people don’t really know the words; we just mumble along and sing the beginning and end bits really loudly, but some day you might get caught out. Downloading this app is the cultural equivalent of having clean pants on in case you get hit by a bus.

This has actually been the most successful app on the Irish Ovi Store. Since its launch last September, Amhrán na bhFiann has been downloaded over 33,000 times.

“It’s proven very popular; I suppose as it might have struck a chord with Irish consumers, tugged at their national pride perhaps and also fulfilled a need, as most people don’t truly know all the words!” says Shane McAllister, founder of MobaNode, the company that developed the app.

The odd thing though is that Italy is amongst the top four countries downloading our national anthem: “It could be Irish fans in Italy downloading it, or maybe the Italians wanting to know what we’re all singing about!”

Well, we stole Olé Olé Olé Olé from the Spanish so fair’s fair.

St Patricks Day Festival app

The St Patrick’s Day Festival has its own app

St Patrick’s Day Festival Guide

What are you doing this Patrick’s Day? Will you be scouring streets and pubs for parades and sessions only to miss each one while in search of the next?

This is the official app from the St Patrick’s Day Festival 2010 (12-17 March) and is in the iPhone App Store, as well as existing as a Java version for other handsets.

This is invaluable if you’re in Dublin around this time (plus it has info on Limerick’s Skyfest) because it lists events by time, location and category and has an interactive map. There is also a live Twitter feed integrated as well as a newsfeed so you can see how everyone else is celebrating the patron saint of paralegals and engineers.

Uillean pipes app

The 4QuarterSet app


4QuarterSet is an iPhone app that simulates the uilleann pipes, so you can sit in the corner of the room and play the iPhone happily while everyone thinks you’ve finally lost it.

At €3.99 this app is worth it and does seem like a well-thought out and professional app with genuine cultural appeal. La Fhéile Pádraig!

By Marie Boran

Topmost photo: The Amhrán na bhFiann application from Nokia’s Ovi Store