Some really cool, innovative, ideas have come out of recession-hit Ireland in recent years. One of those ideas that drew my attention recently was that of Abarta Audio Guides, an Irish company formed by a group of people passionate about Irish history and archaeology. Together they are equipped with a diverse skill set, which allows them to bring us a pretty unique set of audio guides that provide interpretation to cultural and heritage sites around the country. The sites include Glendalough, The Rock of Cashel and The Hill of Tara, among others.
Wanting to find out more about the guides I got in touch with Neil Jackman, owner of Abarta, and asked for a freebie 🙂 so I could do a little review. Neil sent over the audio guide for The Hill of Tara.
This is what I found…
The audio guides are incredibly informative! I could picture myself standing in the expansive area that is The Hill of Tara, and imagining how the many rituals of the time were enacted.
I think you will enjoy listening to the stories and legends that make the Hill of Tara so special, including the legend of St. Patrick, how the 5 ancient roads brought the Provencal Kings of Ireland to Tara, and how the Ritual of Kingship was performed to determine the true High King of Tara.
The guides are well narrated by a native Irish lass, with a lilting Irish accent, and they are accompanied by music and sound effects to allow you to immerse yourself further in the tour (see for yourself by listening to the sample audio clip below).
The audio guide steps you through a walking tour of the area, but I listened to it while driving, and again while sitting at home on my sofa. Obviously, I would’ve preferred to have been standing at the Mound of the Hostages, or gazing at The Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) on the Hill of Tara in County Meath, while listening to the guide, but the Abarta Audio Guides certainly have an entertaining quality to them, which you can appreciate from home. If you’re heading to Ireland from abroad, then they probably would make good airplane listening material too!
Abarta have made the smart move of making the guides available via electronic download. You will pay for your guide via the worldwide recognized PayPal system and receive an email with a link to download your audio files. If you’re tech savvy you’ll have no problem in playing the files directly from your computer or putting them on an MP3 player. If you’re not, then Abarta has an easy-to-understand download guide.
Value for money?
I think so. The guides range in length from approx 30 – 45 minutes, and you’re going to pay 2 Euro per guide, which is approximately US$2.50. That’s only about half the price of one pint of Guinness 🙂
Have you tried the Abarta Audio Guides? Would you recommend them? Leave a comment below for your fellow travelers.
Oh, and if you have a suggestion of an Irish heritage site that you think would benefit from having an accompanying Abarta Audio Guide, then let me know, and I’ll send on your ideas.
Thanks, and enjoy!
Visit Abarta Audio Guides for more information.
Listen to The Hill Of Tara Audio Preview
Stone of Destiny image credit