Council App to bring City Walls to Life
14 July 2021
Derry City and Strabane District Council, in partnership with Visit Derry, has launched an Augmented Reality experience aimed at bringing the Historic City Walls to life through augmented reality helping heritage venues within and around the walls to enhance their tourism offering.
Users will now be able to experience the story of Derry ~ Londonderry's historic past, and more contemporary history through the use of Digital Technology. Augmented reality, an authentic location and story will be combined to tell a story relating to the contested history that the City Walls represent.
The Walls Alive App will enable visitors to use their phones/tablets to recreate the life of 10 sites by providing access to sets of short vignettes using a mix of images, audio, videos and drawing from a wide range of accessible archives from participating venues. For example users will be able to explore the tunnels under the city walls or take a view of the Guildhall clock tower.
The APP focusses on the key attractions within the City Walls, which were built by the London Companies with The Honourable the Irish Society in 1613 during the Plantation of Ulster and completed in 1618. This site is the only remaining complete walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe. The Derry Walls are the largest ancient monument in state care in Northern Ireland and have the longest, complete circuit of ramparts of any of the remaining 30 walled towns in Ireland.
The experience focuses not only on the Walls but also explores the contested history that the site represents including the story of the Apprentice Boys and the more contemporary history of the Civil Rights which saw significant activity in the Bogside area.
The Walls Alive App has been developed by Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with Visit Derry with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Tourism NI and Historic Environment Division as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The aim of the project was to test the use of digital technology within the heritage sector.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke said it will be a welcome addition to city and district's tourism offering that local and international tourists can enjoy.
"This is a new and exciting way for visitors to explore our city and district to learn more about the colourful history that has shaped it," he said.
"It will take users on a walk through some of our most famous landmarks, including St Augustine's Church, Free Derry Corner, St Columb's Cathedral and the Fountain.
"I would like to congratulate the project stakeholders on the development of the app which is a further welcome addition to our visitor offering following the opening of the new state of the art Visit Information Centre in Waterloo Place."
Visit Derry Chief Executive Odhran Dunne added: "We are delighted to be able to offer visitors this innovative digital way to engage with the history of Derry-Londonderry.
"The app is designed to complement the existing heritage infrastructure and product offering that the city has to offer. Our knowledgeable virtual guides will bring users through portals that will allow them to experience amazing views of the city past and present."
Jennifer O'Donnell, Tourism Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council said Walls Alive is available in English, French and German and can be downloaded from the App store and Google Play. She welcomed the fact that it has been developed using augmented reality and GPS technology. "It will take users on an interactive tour of the city to show them the city's rich history and how it looked in the past and really allow us to engage with tourists to tell our unique historical story."
The app is free to download and is available on Apple and Android devices by searching for 'Walls Alive AR' in the App Store or Google Play Store.