projects

Cú Chulainn’s Challenge App

Brief

To work with young people to create two bilingual interpretive apps that explored the archaeological and mythological heritage of Navan Fort.

Response

Can you save King Conor and the Red Branch Knights from Queen Maebh and her men?

Cú Chulainn’s Challenge is an atmospheric adventure game that recounts the tales of Setanta/ Cú Chulainn to young visitors to Navan Fort. Navan Fort has been identified as Emain Macha, the legendary capital of Ulster, celebrated in the heroic tales of the Ulster Cycle. This app uses video to recreate famous stories from the Ulster Cycle and GPS to embed the tales within the atmospheric landscape of Navan Fort.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Methodology/Approach

The Cú Chulainn’s Challenge app was produced as part of the Navan Fort Heritage apps project, a Heritage Lottery Funded project that involved Digital Key working with Macha Media and a group of young people to produce two bilingual interpretive apps for Navan Fort/Eamhain Mhacha in Co. Armagh.

Navan Fort is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Ireland with evidence of occupation from the Neolithic Age through to the Early Christian period. Navan Fort has been identified as Emain Macha, the legendary capital of Ulster, celebrated in the heroic tales of the Ulster Cycle.

Working with Macha Media, we held brainstorms with young people to explore Navan Fort’s heritage, visitor experience and to identify the target audience and narrative of each app. We documented all the research and development in a online blog  Navan Fort Heritage Apps website. After running user-testing sessions of other interpretive apps, the group decided to target two different audiences with contrasting approaches. Cú Chulainn’s Challenge would bring the myths and legends to life for the children and the Discover Navan Fort app would provide a heritage trail for adult visitors. With so little visible evidence at Navan Fort it was determined that both apps should use geographical co-ordinates to anchor video at specific locations around the fort.

We devised a treasure-hunt style game which featured characters and artefacts from the Ulster Cycle. Queen Meabh has bewitched King Conor Mac Neasa and the Red Branch Knights at the top of the mound at Navan Fort. Only a warrior as brave as Cú Chulainn could save them, however as he is away fighting, and an alternative hero must be found. The player must therefore find Cú Chulainn’s belongings located about the fort to take on the strength of the warrior and defeat Meabh and her men. When the player locates an artefact, they uncover a video recounting a tale from the Ulster Cycle. Locating all six items frees the king and his knights from their spell. Macha Media filmed the Ulster Cycle tales with Irish Arms. These video clips were then embedded in regions around the fort. The resulting Cú Chulainn’s Challenge app is available to play in English or Irish.

Links

Home screen Cú Chaulainn's Challenge app
Get it on Google Playapp store badgeFor: Cairde TeoLocation: Navan Fort/Emain Macha Co. ArmaghPlatform: iOS, Android smartphones

Responsibilities: project management, workshops, research, narrative, storyboarding, trail development, game interaction, blog, app design & production, user-testing.

“Digital Key productions have enabled us to produce a wonderful product that will deliver tangible benefits for the wider community and the local economy through increased visitor footfall and renewed interest in the world heritage site on our doorstep.”

Gearóid Ó Machail, CEO of CAIRDE Teo