Virtual attractions open for tourists


Some of Ireland’s top tourist attractions can now be viewed in homes from Berlin to Buenos Aires thanks to Google Street View.

Dublin Zoo, the Rock of Cashel, Fota Wildlife Park and the National Botanic Gardens are just some of the tourist attractions added to Street View, Google’s online panoramic mapping service.

It allows users to view streets, roads, houses and buildings around the State, enabling them to virtually explore a destination.

Google began collecting the street level imagery of the country’s tourist destinations and historic monuments last September on a specially adapted vehicle known as the Street View Trike. It is made up of three bicycle wheels, a mounted Street View camera and image collecting gadgetry. The Trike collects images from destinations where it is not possible for the company’s cars to gain access.

Google worked closely with the relevant organisations to collect the images, and any faces or licence plates captured by the Trike will be blurred.

Fáilte Ireland said the new facility had great potential to bring more visitors to Ireland.

“With the vast majority of potential visitors researching and planning their holidays through the internet, you are either online or unknown,” CEO Shaun Quinn said today.

“Technology such as Street View gives visitors a real feel for all there is to see here and give us the cutting edge needed to attract the 21st century traveller and win the business, revenue and new jobs that Irish tourism has the potential to achieve.”

Among the attractions available to view are Charles Fort Kinsale and Fota Wildlife Park in Cork; Ashtown Castle, Aviva Stadium, Croke Park Stadium, Botantic Gardens, Dublin Castle, Dublin Zoo, Newbridge Farm, Rathfarnham Castle and the War Memorial Garden in Dublin; the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle in Tipperary; Belvedere House and Gardens in Co Westmeath; Muckross house and gardens in Kerry; and Powerscourt in Wicklow.