Gaol to launch virtual reality experience

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Gaol to launch virtual reality experience

This summer, Wicklow Historic Gaol will launch a new virtual reality experience called ‘The Gates of Hell’.

The fully immersive experience will transport visitors back in time to the Wicklow Gaol of the 1700s. The new experience has been made possible thanks to a €200,000 grant from Fáilte Ireland through the new Storytelling Interpretation Grants Scheme, which aims to improve the quality of animation and storytelling at existing attractions in Ireland’s Ancient East.

Emagine are the virtual reality specialists developing ‘The Gates of Hell’ experience and, according to its Creative Director Brian Hickey, it will be ‘like being an active witness’.

‘Imagine if you could leap into a cinema scene,’ he said. ‘We’re going to put users in a very different Wicklow Gaol, as it might have looked in the 1700s. This is one of the most exciting projects we have worked on and we have an entire team of animators and 3D artists dedicated to bringing the amazing historic world of Wicklow Gaol to life by taking storytelling to a ground-breaking new immersive level. Wicklow Historic Gaol is the jewel in the crown of the Ancient East and soon visitors from across the world will have the wonderful opportunity to leap into some of its fascinating stories.’

The family-friendly experience launches in June and will invite visitors to journey through over 200 years of life in Wicklow Gaol and experience the 1798 Rebellion, the famine era and the War of Independence through the eyes of gaol inmates. Guests will also meet many an imposing character along the way.

Paranormal activity taking place in the gaol will also play a part in the virtual reality experience.

Wicklow Enterprise Park, which operates Wicklow Historic Gaol, expects the new experience to drive even more visitors and revenue into the county.

Blaise Treacy, Chairman of the board at the enterprise park, said: ‘Wicklow County Council and Wicklow Historic Gaol management team are delighted to receive this grant support from Fáilte Ireland. Wicklow Gaol is a key attraction in County Wicklow in Ireland’s Ancient East and pivotal to the economy of Wicklow town both in terms of customer spend and job creation.

‘Tourism growth is a key driver in the strategic plan for County Wicklow. Continually enhancing and developing our products to meet customer expectations is critical for future growth. This grant will allow that journey continue,’ he said.

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