Travelling with kids? There's an app for that . . .

Fri, Nov 25, 2011, 00:00

ARE WE THERE YET?is a new smartphone app designed to keep kids (and adults) amused and informed on trips around Ireland North and South. Developed by mother of two Ann Brehony, the app features more than 130 places to visit with children from Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory in Belfast to a toy soldier factory in Cork.

“As part of my MA in publishing at NUI Galway I had to complete a business plan for an innovative new publishing venture and I produced a plan for an online travel guide for families on holiday in Ireland,” Brehony explains. “The course tutors were very encouraging and suggested I should pursue the idea on graduation. They helped me shape a business analysis framework and this allowed me to investigate cutting-edge digital publishing models from around the world.”

Within nine months of graduating Brehony had secured a deal with US publishers Sutro Media.

“I am not a techie person and the thought of trying to deal with the technical challenges involved was daunting,” she says. “I looked at developing the app myself but eventually decided to go with Sutro which had a lot of experience in the field and my app could slot into their existing model. Because I went this route it kept the cost low, which was important as I was time rich but cash poor.”

Having worked as a tour guide and film-location scout, Brehony knows Ireland like the back of her hand.

She had looked and found no app like hers for Ireland and hopes that being first to market coupled with her encyclopaedic knowledge of the country will keep competitors at bay.

Are We There Yet? was launched in mid-September and costs €2.39 to download. Apart from county-by-county listings of family-friendly attractions, the app comes with car games, scavenger hunts, listings of free outdoor play areas, pit stops and links to websites and YouTube for background information on the attractions.

“Sales are growing steadily but I’m still at the stage of covering my costs. Any earnings now will be ploughed back into marketing. I’ve had downloads from right across the world. The reality of digital distribution is quite amazing for someone like myself working on their own. There is no barrier between me and the global marketplace.”