In late 2011, Digital Circle and Momentum, working with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, launched a cultural apps competition for the creation of two apps: one for the Ulster Historical Foundation and the second for the GAA and Comhaltas. After months of development, we are holding a reception in The Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) to welcome the release of the apps.
“The GAA is a community based volunteer organisation promoting Gaelic Games, culture and lifelong participation.”
The GAA is Ireland’s largest Sporting, Cultural and Community Organisation, with over one million members and over 2,750 Clubs throughout the world. Within Ulster we have some 580 Clubs and units, involving around 250,000 volunteers. As the governing body for the GAA in the Province the Ulster Council works in partnership with the nine GAA County Committees as well as the Ulster Councils for Ladies Gaelic Football, Camogie, Handball and Rounders. We do that to promote, enhance, develop and strengthen gaelic games and associated activities at grassroots level.
The Ulster Historical Foundation is a long-established, highly reputable research and publishing agency. We offer extensive knowledge on the sources available for tracing Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors. The Foundation is one of the principal genealogical and historical research agencies in Ireland and a leading publisher of quality historical, educational and genealogical books. We also operate a membership association, the aim of which is to bring together people from all over the world with an interest in finding out more about their Irish ancestors.
The Foundation is an educational non-profit organisation. Our aim is to encourage an interest in the history of the province of Ulster; promote a positive image of Northern Ireland overseas; strengthen the links between Ireland and those of Ulster descent; broaden access to historical documents and records for Irish and Scots-Irish genealogy; and to inspire pride in Irish and Ulster heritage and culture.
Asked to identify 100 key sites, the Foundation in fact produced content for over 200 locations in Ulster, each of which reveals something of the strong historic and cultural links that unite Scotland and Ulster. The sites range from castles and churches to monuments and museums, and chronologically cover the last 500 years. Some of the sites are spectacularly situated, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside or coastline. Others are in less familiar locations, but still with great Ulster-Scots stories. The information compiled includes a brief description of each site highlighting the Scottish story, GPS co-ordinates to aid finding it, and surnames associated with the site to highlight the human interest story.
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, a group promoting Irish Culture through Language, Music, Song and Dance at home and abroad have taken another major leap into the fast paced digital world with their inclusion in the development of a smart phone application in conjunction with the Ulster GAA funded through DCAL. This is a very exciting venture for CCÉ and a challenge that they relish, it is a constant battle to keep pace with the ever changing digital world, however being involved with this project means we are at the forefront of modern communications and can serve our members better. CCÉ provide weekends, festivals and Fleadhanna across Ireland and these are now much more accessible to all visitors to Ireland both North and South and to the National tourists as the map function will tell everyone how far they are away from, and how to get to, the nearest event. In teaming up with Ulster GAA CCÉ is able to deliver cultural information to an audience that may have been interested in our events but did not get to hear about them in time.
The company who developed the App BT48 must be commended on their work and patience, the team within BT48 have delivered a great working app that manages to combine the needs of both organisations with those of the end user, they have been a joy to work with and most of all delivered everything asked of them.
It has been a great experience and CCÉ would like to thank DCAL for bringing all these cultural organisation together, UHF, GAA and CCÉ together and developing their potential to deliver. This will undoubtedly be of benefit to everyone, both tourist and domestic enthusiast, who has an interest in the Cultures of Ireland.