The Butler Trails
Location: Clonmel, Cahir, Carrick-on-Suir, Roscrea
Client: Failte Ireland/Ireland’s Ancient East
Sector: Culture, built heritage, tourism
Expertise: Research, scripting, site visits, professional production, app development
These four Butler Trails are part of Ireland’s Ancient East – a network of stories in the landscape stretching back over 5,000 years. Through competitive tender, OLI was invited to create a series of high quality apps to reveal the influence and impact that the important Butler family dynasty had on the physical, social and economic fabric of the communities in Clonmel, Cahir and Carrick-on-Suir and the legacy they left behind. Due to the success of these trails, the audio portfolio was later extended to include the Butler town of Roscrea in northern Tipperary.
Each trail follows a similar format, using two narrators to tell the stories of these respective towns. This conversational style of delivery, developed by OLI, creates a much richer, personalised and engaging experience for the listener. In effect, the visitor takes part in a lively discussion, rather than being talked at by an ‘expert’. The dual narrator style also affords opportunities to ask questions within the audio and to probe more deeply into subjects, then deliver clear explanations.
In each Butler town, visitors are guided to around 10 to 12 stops, or points of interest. The focus is always to convey intriguing stories about what happened at that place, or who did what to whom, rather than bombarding the visitor with a litany of dates, bland facts and descriptions of what they are already looking at. This ‘story-based’ approach is time consuming as it demands rigorous research and strong story-telling skills, both areas in which OLI excels, but it produces deeply meaningful and memorable experiences. This means, for example, that visitors may imagine themselves in a vicious battle against Cromwell’s troops at one point, hear a harrowing account of the Irish famine, then find themselves flying along a country road onboard Ireland’s first commercial stagecoach service at another.