A new digital story trail featuring augmented reality was recently launched in Waterford, offering tourists an engaging way to discover Waterford’s history via their smartphone.
Waterford City and County Council in partnership with Imvizar, and with Fáilte Ireland funding under the Destination Town’s Initiative, launched Waterford’s new digital walking trail, which explores the history, culture, and heritage of 15 different locations in the heart of the city centre, including Reginald's Tower and Waterford Crystal.
Through the use of augmented reality smartphone technology, visitors and locals can experience Waterford’s past by watching digital animations of characters and architecture appear as if they are in the physical world right in front of them. The trail can be accessed for free by scanning one of the numerous QR codes on signs located throughout the city trail.
Speaking at the launch in Waterford’s Medieval Museum, Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr John O’ Leary said, “This new digital trail is a first for the South East. By breathing life into Waterford’s fascinating history and heritage, locals and visitors will be able to get a true sense of Waterford as it was centuries ago.
“Waterford’s Digital Trail is a wonderful addition to our tourism offering. We have a rich and proud history as Waterford’s Oldest city and to be able to quite literally go back in time and meet the characters from our past is as exciting as it is educational.”
In addition to meeting life-like characters from Waterford's past, scanning the QR code also provides an audio tale from an historical figure, coupled with interesting facts and a timeline of events. Spanning over a thousand years of Waterford’s history, tourists can listen as Reginald, a Viking King and warlord from the 10th century, describes his quest to launch raids all over Ireland and watch as Thomas Francis Meagher, Leader of the Young Irelanders in the 1848 Rebellion, raises the first Irish tricolour.
Waterford’s history of master craft making is also recognised. Rachel Penrose, the wife of one of the founders of Waterford Crystal, William Penrose, appears in a recreation of an 18th century glass-blowing scene. Trail users can also meet Anastasia Fleming, a silversmith from the late 1700s, and see a reimagined façade of her silversmith shop.
Adele Keane, Creative Producer, Imvizar said, “When crafting the digital story trail, we wanted to focus on conserving Waterford's heritage by giving voices to both well-known and lesser-known historical figures. By hearing their stories, and sometimes seeing them in their surroundings, we can better put ourselves in their shoes and imagine what life was like as a silversmith in the 18th century or as a young soldier in World War I.”
Brian O' Flynn, Head of Regional Development, Ireland’s Ancient East, added, “Fáilte Ireland was pleased to support the development of the innovative Digital Story Trail through our Destination Town Investment Scheme. As today’s tourists are looking for more unique and compelling ways to immerse themselves in the local culture, heritage and history of a destination, this Digital Story Trail will help bring the story of Ireland’s oldest city to life, in new, immersive exciting ways. In addition, the trail, along with the enhancement work at the Viking Triangle due to be completed later this year, will encourage visitors to stay longer both during the day and into the evening, further spreading the benefits of tourism to the local area.”
The new augmented reality story trail from Waterford City and County Council offers a fresh perspective on storytelling that evokes emotions and allows users to walk away with a more memorable experience.
To see the trail in action, visit: https://digitalstorytrail.visitwaterford.com/ (The Digital Story Trail is a mobile experience)