THE FIRST free smartphone app to guide tourists around Kilkenny City and County’s finest attractions has been launched.
The virtual guide is the brainchild of Trail Kilkenny, a non-profit company charged with developing leisure and tourism trails in the county.
The free app allows the thousands of tourists who visit Kilkenny every week to find and navigate Trail Kilkenny walk, cycle, craft and food trails. Complete with download maps, the app links tourists from one Trail to another. For example on the Walk Trail you will be directed to nearby restaurants, pubs, craftspeople and other tourism businesses.
The launch of the app is the result of a partnership between Trail Kilkenny and Everytrail, a US company which has developed technology that allows the plotting, upload and the sharing of routes of varying types all over the world. Trail Kilkenny is its first Irish commercial partner.
The app includes individual guides for the Trail Kilkenny Walks, Cycle, Craft and Food Trails
Sat Nav guide to the start of the individual Trails, Googlemaps directions from your current location to each member of the Craft and Food Trail.
Users can zoom in to any location and see more details about Trail Kilkenny members in that area and the plan is to add tourist providers in Kilkenny such as hotels, restaurants and other attractions to the app in the coming months thereby providing an even more comprehensive guide for the visitor.
Well known Kilkenny native and entrepreneur, Bobby Kerr, welcomed the launch of the app saying it is an invaluable tool for people visiting the county.
The Dragon’s Den star – whose father Bobby Senior owned the well known Newpark Hotel on the Castlecomer Road for many years – said: “This is a great initiative. Kilkenny is one of Ireland’s most attractive tourist centres and this new app will be the ideal guide”.
Eoin Hogan, Rural Recreation Officer with Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) which supports Trail Kilkenny, said: “We are very excited by the potential of the new app-guide and the partnership deal we have with EveryTrail. It will connect visitors to Kilkenny with all our trails and others attractions too.”
“Trail Kilkenny has the content to hand and the app- guide will provide a dramatically new and efficient way to reach people. There is no doubt apps are the future, but we will also continue to publish paper Guides to our trails as well.”
Kevin Mahon, Chairman of Kilkenny Tourism, said the launch of the app is yet another win for Kilkenny. “This demonstrates that not alone is Kilkenny moving with the times, but is out there setting the standards for others to follow. The addition of the app by Trail Kilkenny demonstrates how mobile technology is so important to the Tourism industry. We in Kilkenny Tourism welcome this addition”.
EveryTrail has become increasingly popular around the world with walkers and outdoor enthusiasts as iPhones and other versions of smartphones have become more common. An EveryTrail spokesperson said: “These GPS-enabled itineraries are changing the way people travel, and the original content of our partners, such as Trail Kilkenny, is a key part of this new market. ”
Trail Kilkenny has to date developed nine looped walking trails to Fáilte Ireland standards. Another six are scheduled to be completed later this year.
It also has several dozen Food Trail and Craft Trail members and Cycle trails. The Trail Kilkenny Craft and Food Trails are already market leaders in the themed trail sector in Ireland and there are plans to launch a Garden Trail and a ‘Haunted Kilkenny’ trail examining the folklore of the paranormal in the county.
Once the app is downloaded there are no more additional internet or wireless costs. This means a tourist you downloads it to a smartphone wont incur any roaming costs as they use it on their travels around the county.
To download the free app simply search for “Trail Kilkenny” in the app store. An extra feature is that you can use a QR code which can be scanned with your iphone to bring you directly to the webpage. The QR code can be downloaded free by searching for “QR” code in the app story.