Northern Ireland news

App aims to uncover history of Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle, which is set to be the feature of a new smartphone app
Paul Ainsworth

A NEW smartphone app aims to help families explore one of the north's most iconic castles.

Kids 'n Castles is being created at the behest of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to encourage more visits to Carrickfergus Castle.

The famous Norman fortress sees thousands of visitors a year explore its ramparts and tower, and the new app aims to guide them through using `beacons' that once found via bluetooth will explain the history of that part of the castle using audio and video.

When enough beacons - in the form of artefacts located within the castle grounds - are found, virtual `awards' will be granted.

The app, which is being developed for iPhones, has been developed by Cambridge tech firm Airsource, and the council is seeking families with children aged between 5 and 8 to help test it before it is made available for download.

Speaking of how the app would work for users, a council spokeswoman said: "When they are close enough to the I-beacon, their phone will show the item as found and will display information about it and a game, quiz, or some other activity."

The app will also be made available for use at Antrim Castle Gardens, where the castle stood for over 250 years before being destroyed in a suspected IRA arson attack in 1920.

It was demolished in 1970, and today one tower remains standing.

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