User-testing Heritage Apps

On Saturday we headed down to Nendrum Monastery to try out the Ghosts of Nendrum app. User-testing existing heritage apps should enable the group to identify the possibilities and limitations of using mobile devices for interpretation. This experience will  feed into our next brainstorming session where we will explore the structure and functionality of the Navan Fort Heritage Apps.

After a few light rain showers, the sun came out in time for our trip to Carrickfergus Castle to user-test the Siege! at Carrickfergus Castle app.


Navan Fort Apps Brainstorm 1- themes

Antaine O’Donnaile from Macha Media and Ellen Bell from Digital Key joined CAIRDE Teo and the SEAS Enterprise group for a brainstorming session at the Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency. After some initial research into the mythology and archaeology of the site, it was  time to focus our efforts into shaping the themes and narratives for the Eamhain Mhacha Heritage Apps project. The brief is to create two interactive, multi-media mobile apps located at Navan Fort, one for young children and their families and the other for older teenagers and adults. The apps will contain multi-media resources in the form of adventure games triggered by satellite GPS. The apps will be for the benefit of the local community as well as tourists visiting the area and would be available in the Irish language as well as English.

The aim of the brainstorming session was to ascertain which characteristics of Navan Fort made it unique and engaging for visitors. We needed to identify the learning outcomes  and the themes to be used to engage each target audience.  The session was broken down into stages in order to gradually build up a more detailed description of the target user and the content of the app.

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Navan Fort’s Archaeological Landscape

View Navan archaeological landscape in a larger map

Articles and Links relating to Navan Fort’s Archaeological Landscape

Loughnashade trumpet

In the late 18th Century, four Bronze trumpets were found by workmen in the boggy ground around Loughnashade, east of Navan. Subsequently three were lost and the surviving Loughnashade trumpet is kept in the National Museum of Ireland. The trumpet measures 1.10m and it was most likely used in Celtic rituals. It is thought Loughnashade was a sacred lakes where the Celts deposited precious goods in the water as offerings to their Gods.

  • Short video from the NIEA/ Hidden Heritage series looking at the Loughnashade trumpet.



Digital Key Apps

These Digital Key apps  demonstrate how mobile technology can be used to bring the history of a location to life. The apps are designed to be played on location but also have versions that can be played off-site.

Removing the artefacts has disturbed the spirits; now nine ghosts haunt the ruins, and each spirit has a tale to tell. The Ghosts of Nendrum is an interactive, location-based app that explores the history of Nendrum Monastery in County Down, Northern Ireland. This game allows you to explore the ruined monastic site and meet the ghosts of past inhabitants.

It’s 1315, Robert Bruce has defeated Edward II at Bannockburn and now his brother, Edward Bruce, is making his way to Ireland. Get ready to defend Carrickfergus Castle against the Scottish attack …

The Siege is an interactive, location-based, mobile app set around the walls of Londonderry. The Siege app combines GPS and mobile technology with contemporary real life accounts and dramatized reactions from townspeople to bring the key events of the 1689 Siege to life. Excerpts from the diaries and journals of Captain Thomas Ash, Reverend George Walker and Captain Richards are combined in this atmospheric, educational app.



Cú Chulainn adaptations

According to  Irish mythology Emain Macha (Navan Fort) was founded by the warrior queen Macha and is legendary capital of Ulster in the Ulster Cycle of tales. Some of the most famous names in Irish legend are associated with the location: King Conchobar mac Nessa, Cú Chulainn, Queen Mebh and Deirdre of the sorrows. Below are some links to onscreen adaptations of the story of Setanta / Cú Chulainn.

Setanta – the boy Cú Chulainn [Part 1] by Claiomh Productions

Setanta – the boy Cú Chulainn [Part 2] by Claiomh Productions

The Life and Times of Cú Chulainn

The Life and Times of Cú Chulainn is a series of in 6 x 5 minute animations that illustrate key events in the warrior’s life .

Some further links to information