We love featuring experiences that are close to home and we were really interested the see the news about the recently launched state of the art visitor centre at The Céide Fields in County Mayo. We heard that they had a brand new immersive experience and it fits so perfectly with our INSITES to Digital Heritage Project so Val had to go and visit to check it out. Here’s what Val had to say:

Luckily I picked the one day of summer (so far) to go, the drive from Ballina to the visitor centre is spectacular. I took the coastal route so that I could explore the Wild Atlantic Way, I loved the Fuschia and wild rose hedgerows, buzzing with activity from bees, birds, and butterflies. On the way I stopped at Lacken Strand, and enjoyed having the beach to myself.

I also stopped at Downpatrick Head, one of the signature points on the Wild Atlantic Way, and home to the magnificent Dún Briste (meaning broken fort), this was part of the mainland until 1393 when heavy seas separated it. St. Patrick built a church here (although only remains are left), and you can visit his statue.  You can also visit ‘The Crossing’  which is part of Tír Sáile – The North Mayo Sculpture Trail and the largest public arts trial ever undertaken in Ireland.

Onwards to The Céide Fields Visitor Centre, I had been before and have always enjoyed visiting, but the new installations are breathtaking. The visitor centre is run by the OPW and is home to the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, consisting of field systems, dwelling areas and megalithic tombs. You can explore the bogland and enjoy the most spectacular views, I’ve done a short (shaky) video here:

The new immersive experience is such a treat. A short film shows every ten minutes and will give you a glimpse of what life was like for Neolithic farmers in the area. You’ll experience the seasons and how weather affected the day to day life of the families who lived there. The staff were telling me that the 360 degree screen is thought to be the largest in Europe, and it’s an excellent example of bringing history to life and promoting digital heritage.

The centre also has a new Infinity Box – thought to be the first in Ireland, this recreates the Céide Fields farmed landscape. It’s a great way of telling the story through digital means and will be something that all the family can enjoy.

If you’d like to find out more about the Céide Fields, you can find their website here: https://heritageireland.ie/places-to-visit/ceide-fields/

The INSITES (Digital Cultural Heritage Custodians) Project will focus on Cultural heritage tourism, which is defined as “travel to experience the places, artefacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present, including cultural historic and natural resources” such as urban and rural landscapes, museums, theatres, archaeological sites, historical monuments and cultural interpretation centres. INSITES aims to upskill those who work and manage these businesses (hereby called cultural heritage custodians) and also the VET providers and business mentors who support them in with digital skills and immersive tourism skills.

The first tangible results of the project will be the intellectual outputs which will be used by VET educators/ mentors:

  •  IO1 The Future – Immersive Cultural Heritage Experiences OERs, a multilingual cultural heritage tourism training pack which upskills learners in the powerful potential of digital technology to rejuvenate, preserve and grow cultural heritage tourism in Europe.
  • IO2 Active Peer Learning Guide  which captures inspirational case studies & best practice examples of cultural and heritage tourism businesses across Europe who have improved their digital skills and embraced technology in innovative ways to rejuvenate, preserve and grow their cultural heritage tourism business.
  • IO3 Digital Cultural Heritage MOOC. This multilingual MOOC offers a one-stop digital training point where cultural heritage custodians can “drop-in” & access up-to-date info, guidance & training from European digital cultural heritage experts.
  • IO4 Digital Cultural Heritage Technology Toolkit which identifies, rigorously tests and guides the use of 20+ low/no-cost digital tools with the powerful potential to rejuvenate, preserve and grow cultural heritage tourism.

Find out more about INSITES here: https://www.insitesproject.eu/ 
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