projects

Discover Navan Fort App

Brief

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

Response

The Discover Navan Fort app reveals the archaeological and mythological heritage of Navan Fort, one of the most important prehistoric sites in Ireland. Navan Fort contains evidence of occupation from the Neolithic Age right up to Early Christian period. It has been identified as Emain Macha, the legendary capital of Ulster, celebrated in the heroic tales of the Ulster Cycle. This app provides visitors with a bilingual personal guided tour to Navan Fort’s impressive heritage using GPS and presenter-led video clips.

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Methodology/Approach

The Discover Navan Fort 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 right up to Early Christian period. The location has been identified as Emain Macha, the legendary capital of Ulster, celebrated in the heroic tales of the Ulster Cycle. Little tangible on-location evidence combined with multiple layers of history and mythology made the task of interpretation even more difficult.

We organised pre-development workshops with young people to explore Navan Fort’s heritage, visitor experience and identify suitable narratives and target visitor groups. 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. The first, a game that would bring the myths and legends to life for the children and the second, a guided 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.

In order to make the information accessible and engaging, we decided to provide visitors with their own personal tour guide, with dialogue scripted to address the user directly. We researched the historical and mythological heritage of the fort. After talking with archaeologists we identified key historical narratives and distilled this information into scripts. We then devised a route through the site that co-ordinated the scripts with related view-points or historical features within the fort and then filmed the script on-location, with the bilingual presenter Cormac Ó hAdhmaill. This footage was then edited and inter-cut with historical re-enactments, reconstructions, photographs and diagrams. These video clips were then embedded around the fort. GPS then tracked the position of the user on their Android /iPhone device; and when the user enters a region; video relating to that location is triggered and played. The resulting Cú Chullain’s Challenge app is available to play in English or Irish.

Links

Home screen Discover Navan Fort app

Get it on Google Playapp store badge

For: Cairde Teo

Location: Navan Fort / Emain Macha, Co. Armagh

Platform: iOS, Android smartphones

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

“The new interactive apps combine folklore, mythology, history and archaeology in an accessible format that will appeal to all age groups. I would like to thank Digital Key Productions for their outstanding work in producing such a quality product.”

Gearóid Ó Machail, CEO of CAIRDE Teo