Tourism with a tech twist: You can now experience Dublin using AR

13 Jan 2023

Zara Rogan, from Dundalk, Co Louth pictured at the Jeanie Johnston at the launch of Dublin City Council’s Dublin Discovery Trails. Image: Robbie Reynolds

Thanks to an app with AR features, tourists and locals can learn more about the history of Dublin, its buildings and its characters.

Dublin City Council (DCC) is working with several Irish and Dublin-based bodies to launch a series of apps that let visitors to the city ‘see’ some of its famous sights in a new way.

As they discover iconic Dublin landmarks such as the famine statues, the CHQ building and more, techie tourists and locals alike can experience them all on their screens.

The council launched the first app, called Doors into the Docklands as part of its Dublin Discovery Trails campaign on 11 January.

The app was developed by Peel X and co-funded by DCC and Fáilte Ireland. It is now available to download for free on

Rather than a solution to the woes of lazy travellers who prefer to see Dublin exclusively from a screen, or even a novel new method of terrifying Luddites, the app is intended as a flâneur’s companion.

It requires a data or Wi-Fi connection to download and after that people can use it when they are offline.

Once it is downloaded, the geo-enabled landmarks and map are stored on users’ phones. As people encounter the city’s famous landmarks, they can point their phones at them. This will prompt the related images, videos and stories to pop up.

This kind of technology is known as augmented reality (AR). Using a mix of 3D graphics, animation and audio, the app aims to immerse Dubliners and tourists alike in the story of the city.

Among the things to expect from the first app dedicated to the Docklands, are the Guinness barges sailing down the River Liffey, the Crimean Banquet held in the CHQ and the story behind the famine statues.

Several colourful characters from history will also appear in AR to tell their tales. These include Captain Bligh who surveyed Dublin Bay in the 1800s and Maggie Doyle, who was a docker’s daughter.

The development of the Docklands AR trail was in collaboration with representatives from Fáilte Ireland, Dublin Port Company, the Office of Public Works, Epic, Smart Dublin and Dublin City Council Culture Company.

The Docklands app, and the other planned apps, are part of DCC’s Smart Cities campaign. Since its inception, Smart Cities has aimed to market Dublin as a high-tech city.

As part of Smart Cities, Dublin Discovery Trails will help multiple Dublin tourism agencies and local authorities to take a step into the world of AR.

“This is amazing technology, bringing a part of Dublin alive that most of us have never seen,” said Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy.

“It’s really exciting innovation and as Lord Mayor, I’m proud to see Dublin at the forefront of smart tourism technology joining the past and the future together. I’d like to take the opportunity to encourage visitors and Dubliners alike to download the app and try out this immersive new experience.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.