We have just completed work on our latest audio guide, the Buttevant Heritage Trail, and we thought this might be a good opportunity to show how we go about producing our guides.

The Buttevant Heritage Trail

We have been working for a number of years with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), to help them to tell the stories of the many remarkable archaeological discoveries that have been made during development of road and rail infrastructure in Ireland (you can see the full list of TII guides here).  We base the script for our TII guides on the technical publications and reports that are produced by the archaeological teams and TII staff and we extract the stories from their unique discoveries. For example, in our Woodstown Audio Book, we give an insight into what everyday life would have been like in a Viking settlement based on the archaeological discoveries that were made on the banks of the River Suir.  Our latest guide is based on the archaeological discoveries made in the Cork town of Buttevant during recent works.  The archaeological information in the guide was based on the discoveries made by Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd, in the Cork town of Buttevant during the recent street enhancement works that were carried out by Priority Construction Ltd on behalf of Cork County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

How We Created the Buttevant Heritage Trail Audio Guide

Engaging with communities and groups to help them to showcase their heritage is one of the most important aspects of our work at Abarta.  For this audio guide, we were delighted when Ken Hanley and Rónán Swan of Transport Infrastructure Ireland suggested the idea of working with the local community to create a guide that showcases the town’s heritage for visitors, as well as informing people about the fascinating archaeological discoveries that lie beneath the surface of the town.

The community of Buttevant met with Neil of Abarta and Ken of TII, to discuss how we can all work together to produce a guide that really reflects the heritage of the town. Led by Ann Coughlan, the community worked diligently to produce a series of short texts on all the different locations that would lead a visitor around Buttevant. Their local knowledge and insights into the story of Buttevant provided a really engaging and authentic experience.  This was further augmented by Ken Hanley’s specialist insights into the archaeological discoveries.  Neil edited and prepared the script for narration and the community and TII offered great feedback to make sure that the stories all worked together in a flowing and enjoyable way.

Recording the Buttevant Heritage Trail

Another great aspect of producing this particular guide, was when we travelled down to Buttevant to record the locals giving their unique insights into the stories of the town. We had a really fun day’s recording, energised by the warm hospitality, plentiful coffee, tea and lovely scones at Ann’s house.  We heard stories covering everything from tales of the Cahirmee Horse Fair, to the world’s first steeplechase and even the story of a gargoyle brilliantly brought to life by Gabriel O’Callaghan. These stories give listeners a unique and really authentic sense of the town.

We recorded the main narration with the brilliant voice-artist Gerry O’Brien in the state-of-the-art Bluebird Studios with our amazing sound engineer Declan Lonergan, and producer Róisín of Abarta.  The narration ties everything together and we created an immersive soundscape to help listeners to have an enjoyable experience whether they listen as they walk around Buttevant or from the comfort of their own home.  Following the narration recording and soundscaping, the audio guide was issued to both the TII Archaeological Team and the community of Buttevant for review.  Then after all the final tweaks were made, the audio guide was launched on our website.

We are really thrilled to continue this series of guides and audio books with Transport Infrastructure Ireland, and it was a particular pleasure to work with the community of Buttevant who have been absolutely brilliant throughout.  You can stream or download the Buttevant Heritage Trail Stories from Above and Below by following this link.

The official launch of the Buttevant Heritage Trail audio guide will be held as part of a great conference in Buttevant. The conference: Developing a Sustainable Heritage Tourism Sector in Small Irish Towns, takes place in Coliaste Mhuire in Buttevant on Saturday 14th October 2017. The event is free and all are welcome, but booking is essential. For more information please visit here: www.buttevantheritagetourismconference.comYou can discover more on Buttevant’s story by following the Buttevant Heritage Group on Facebook.


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