Application Brings Heritage Sites Back To The Future

A Clare County Council heritage information booklet has been converted into a free, downloadable iPhone / iPad Application (App) for visitors to Early Christian, Medieval and Celtic ecclesiastical buildings in County Clare.

“Rian na Manach (Pathway Of The Monks) – A Guided Tour of Ecclesiastical Treasures in Co. Clare” was originally launched in early 2007 following a comprehensive audit of more than 80 Early Christian, Medieval and Celtic ecclesiastical buildings. Many of the buildings included in the book are supported by text and photographs, whilst others are included only as mapped reference points.

Apart from the provision of Text and Photographs the new App provides users with an interactive mapping facility featuring site locations, in realtime, with route planning and site distances which the visitor will find beneficial when visiting or planning to visit any of these trails. An alternative mapping facility has been provided within the App which provides certain functionality in areas where the mobile network coverage is inadequate.

The Council says the converted booklet will help promote County Clare’s culture and heritage to a wider and younger audience by creating an interactive tour of ecclesiastical treasures within County Clare.

Welcoming the launch of the application, Mayor of Clare Councillor Christy Curtin said: “This application will help inform visitors of the importance of these historic buildings and will hopefully form the basis for their enhanced protection, which in turn will allow for increased appropriate accessibility in the future. It reflects the rich ecclesiastical history that exists in the county and although it serves as a sustainable tourism/heritage guide for both tourists and locals, it importantly outlines the sensitivity of these buildings”.

Senior Planner Gordon Daly explained: “The targeted end result of the project is to raise awareness of County Clare’s rich history, culture and heritage, reaching out to a wider audience, boosting tourist numbers and providing the basis for future roll-out of similar ICT (Information Communications Technology) projects.”

“The iPhone / iPad Application features 33 church heritage sites across four trails throughout County Clare, which are supported by text and photographs. These sites highlight the historical background to Clare’s rich ecclesiastical heritage. The trails offer a rich variety of interest to all visitors. Churches new and old have their fascination and the sites illustrate the richness of their architectural features and a fine tradition of stonework.”

“Prior to stone building, small oratories made of wood were used for worship. The sites are some of the best examples in Ireland of churches for worship, round towers, enclosure walls, crypts and gravestones and are of huge heritage value as sites of archaeological and architectural interest, as wildlife habitats and as repositories of local genealogy, sculpture and art”, Mr.Daly concluded.

The Application features detailed information on some of Clare’s best known ecclesiastical sites, such as Ennis Franciscan Friary, Dysert O’Dea Romanesque Church near Corofin,  Inis Cealtra in Mountshannon, Kilfarboy Church near Miltown Malbay, St. Cronán’s 10th Century Church at Tuamgraney, Kilchreest Church in Ballynacally, and North Clare’s Corcomroe Abbey.

The iPhone / iPad Application is available to download free via the Clare Tourism Forum website (clare.ie) and the Clare County Council website (clarecoco.ie) and is the first initiative of its kind to be launched in the County.

The delivery of the project was an Inter Departmental effort involving Planning and IT Departments within Clare Co. Council and Clare Tourism Forum. The  100%  funding grant was provided by the Department of Tourism, Culture & Sport.

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