Experiences | The Dunbrody
Zolkc, alongside CMC Associates and the JFK Trust, were successfully awarded Irish National Development Programme funding to tell the story of the Irish flight from famine at the Dunbrody Replica Ship in New Ross.
As project lead Zolkc were responsible for the overall development as well as implementing new technology solutions to enhance the onsite visitor experience.
Since opening in 2001, the Dunbrody at New Ross has proven to be a highly successful visitor attraction, bringing in on average 60,000 visitors per annum. Visitor numbers peaked in 2002 at 68,000 and by 2007 had declined to 55,000 visitors per annum. The decline in visitor numbers is somewhat explained by regional trends, but like all attractions a time comes when there is a need to refresh and renew, and to re-interpret, which is exactly what happened in the summer of 2011.
The previous interpretive approach centred on the ship itself and was based around a ‘living history’ presentation by actors which, although popular, required some updating. To enhance the visitor experience and encourage new and repeat visitors to engage with the important history of Irish emigration, the visitor centre has now been extended and fitted out with cutting edge AV elements.
Onboard the ship itself, actors have been supported by more effective sound and lighting effects, and atmospheric set dressing. The overall experience is now more dramatic, emotional and informative than ever before and has already generated heightened interest and visitors to the attraction.
Since its reopening, the JFK Trust have seen visitor expenditure rise by over 20% due to increased dwell time on site, a clear indication of the quality of experience now being offered and the increased levels of engagement.