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'Immersive heritage trail' app to be launched in bid to attract tourists to Dublin's Docklands

Dublin City Council aims to hire technology experts to deliver “augmented reality tourism experiences” in Docklands at a cost of €300,000.

Dublin Docklands
Dublin Docklands
Image: Shutterstock/EQRoy

DUBLIN’S DOCKLANDS IS set for a re-brand under Council plans to develop a tourist trail for visitors using smart technology. 

As part of Failte Ireland’s Visitor Experience Development Plan (VEDP) for the Docklands, Dublin City Council will create an “immersive heritage trail” Mobile App aimed at highlighting the area’s industrial history. 

Synonymous with modern apartment blocks and technology corporations like Google and Facebook, Fáilte Ireland and the Council are examining ways to bring more visitors into the area over the coming years. 

As part of its market consultation, the Council plans to examine the possibility of using mobile apps, augmented reality and interactive technology to develop its heritage trail. 

The Docklands, the Council said, “encapsulates the very essence of the city’s unique maritime heritage” and “is an important part of the tourism offering provided to visitors coming to Dublin.”

Since 2000, Dublin’s Docklands has seen a boom in construction with tech companies taking root in this historically industrial hub. 

Criticism, however, has been levelled at a lack of community gain locally and the knock-on effect development has had. 

According to Dublin City Council, Docklands is a “Smart District” and a “testbed for innovative solutions that will transform the way our cities operate.”

Smart Docklands – the Council’s technology initiative – “also provides an opportunity to attract emerging technologies to Dublin City and showcase their power through a fast-track innovation district,” the Council said. 

In recent years, a number of tourist or heritage initiatives have been launched in Docklands. There have also been calls for a Dock Workers Museum to highlight the area’s maritime history. 

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum opened in 2016. Last year, U2 were granted planning permission for the band’s visitor centre in Docklands. Last month, Windmill Lane Studios launched its own visitor experience. 

In November, plans for a new white-water rafting attraction as Dublin’s IFSC were announced, leading to significant criticism from members of the public. 

shutterstock_1131096020 Panoramic view at Grand Canal Dock Source: Shutterstock.com

Fáilte Ireland, meanwhile, has been looking at ways to bring visitors down to Dublin’s Docklands as part of its VEDP.

Dublin City Council now plans to hire technology experts to deliver “augmented reality tourism experiences” in Docklands at a cost of €300,000. 

Jamie Cudden, head of Smart Cities programme, told TheJournal.ie that similar initiatives are in place at Belfast’s Titanic Quarter and said the aim is to move away from “static” heritage displays for tourists. For example, information boards. 

Instead, the Council plans to develop Apps and interactive technology for visitors to Docklands, to both inform people of its heritage but also to help visitors navigate Dublin’s Docklands. 

“Our lens is on Docklands,” said Cudden, who said this “technology should be scaled across the city” into other tourist areas. 

Derek Kelly, who works in Dublin City Council’s Docklands Office, said he aims to have The Docklands App available in 2021. 

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