Last year the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport launched an excellent initiative in the Cultural Technology Grant Scheme. The idea was to match creativity in technology with the cultural sector, thus creating new ways to promote culture and the arts in Ireland. The first batch of resulting projects are starting to come to light, and revealing some very useful and clever products. I blogged about Breaking Tunes a few weeks back – a good looking phone app that delivers music event and artist info and content from emerging irish music artists direct to your phone, and now another great app has been launched today in the form of Dublin’s Cultural Trail courtesy of Temple Bar Cultural Trust and a trio of Digital Hub enterprises.
Both a comprehensive website, and a compatible iphone app, the Trail aims to bring a number of Dublin’s leading cultural institutions to life with lovely photographs of each venue, historical information and some extremely high quality videos. It’s clearly aimed at visitors to Dublin, bringing to life as it does all of the venues both from the website and the app, though locals should find it useful too.
Both website and app have handy venue info; opening times, contact details and location maps that will come in handy for even regular users of the locations. The app uses it’s geo-location potential to show the venues in respect of your current location, and can even map your journey to them via google maps.
The website offers a little more with an event listing service for the venues and a special offers section, two things that would have been nice to see on the app as a way to keep it dynamic and current, but possibly not everything would fit? Or maybe they are to come on an upgrade? The site also has a clever little weather summary in the header.
The videos are great, and it’s so encouraging to see such high quality, contemporary looking product being created to promote Dublin abroad. It’s easy to see how the site will be of huge benefit to those planning trips to Ireland and may entice those who are still undecided about their trip, if promoted in the right way. I loved seeing the inclusion of contemporary cultural venues like Project, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios and the Graphic Studio Gallery, as I have a bit of a bugbear about so much tourism being heritage related, but it’s a pity then to see all three of these venues videos lumped together into one combined video rather than a separate one for each of them as with the other venues like IMMA or Chester Beatty. It may arguably work to push visitors from one to the other within the Temple Bar trio, but it’s not clearly spelled out when you start the video that you’re about to see three venues, so I initially thought the wrong video had loaded on the app.
It’d be great to see the videos becoming sharable, (especially the intro trailer) and specifically embedable, but tying the links back to the dublin cultural trail site, so that bloggers and others could better share the info about the trail, and about the great venues. At the moment there aren’t unique url’s for each of the videos either so you can’t provide a hyperlink to their exact page, whatever about embedding them,
Overall though, it’s a great initiative, and the potential for it is huge, not least of all to see irish culture and technology come together so forcefully. It’s so brilliant to see these sorts of things finally coming out of Ireland and I’m looking forward to seeing the other projects funded by the scheme come on stream over the coming weeks.