From an idea spawned from the darkest days of the pandemic when the only light at the end of the tunnel from being confined to home came from the ability to get out for walks in familiar areas that seemed desolate due to the absence of a population in self imposed incarceration, Louth Culture Quest launched their brand new App on Friday evening in An Tain.
The App couples the thrill of a treasure hunt with finding a collection of 20 art installations dotted around the county and is set in 2050 where art and culture has been destroyed by rolling pandemics, but a custodian (Joe Rooney) from this dystopian future has placed the surviving instillations in 20 locations around the county for safe keeping and with the aid of clues, it’s up to the treasure hunters to solve them and ensure the future survival of art and culture in the county.
There have been five artists chose for the instillations, David Callan, Els + Declan (collaboration), Grainne Murphy and Omin who have provided five pieces each and they have had their work installed in secret locations around the county where they will remain for the next year.
The quest has been divided into 4 separate zones North Louth, Dundalk, South Louth and Drogheda. Friday night saw the opening of North Louth zone and each of the others will see the light of day in the coming Fridays.
I wasn’t too long there when I caught up with artist Grainne Murphy from Philip Street who said it had taken quite some time to set up, but she was delighted to be asked to submit her work for the project. She went on to say she really couldn’t give too much away as it would take from the thrill of the hunt.
Next I got talking to Patricia Morrissey-O’Hare from Carlingford, Geraldine Kiernan manager of the Carlingford Heritage Center and Sinead Roche from the Tourist Office who said there was a possibility that Carlingford might feature as part of the project, but all anyone had to do was download the app and unlock the locations by solving the clues, there will be additional help available wherever necessary.
After this I headed over for a chat with Omin who was chatting to Hannah and Joanne Finnegan from St. Marys Road who were very impressed with the idea. He told me he too had 5 pieces in the Culture Quest and it was an excellent idea for people to jump in their cars and go solve the clues and was looking forward to getting his kids on the cultural treasure hunt.
Not too far away I then got talking to Heather and Dan Oakes who told me Heather runs the music school in An Tain and they were there to support the launch and were also looking forward to getting the kids away from their computer screens out of the house and on the trail.
I then met up with Kevin Murphy from Castle Park and Amy Bellew from Kilkerley who told me they thought it was an excellent idea and they were there to support Kevin’s sister Grainne who is one of the artists.
Next I got talking to one of the busiest ladies at the launch Mary Claire Cowley Creative Producer and Manager in An Tain who told me the idea had come during the early days of lockdown and had evolved over the following months. She went on to say it had taken quite some time to bring the various facets together, but the finished product has provided an ideal event for families, groups or couples to participate in. It will also bring the participants to a wide selections of locations, some of which they possibly never even knew existed in their own county.
Not too long later, I met up with Jordan Black and Eilish Murtagh from Drogheda who told me they thought it is an excellent idea and would be great for the family
After this I got a word with Thomas Landy from Seatown with his son Luke who said they are friends of Els and Declan and thought the hunt is a great idea but it will also help to showcase the growing resource of local artistic talent during the quest.
I then caught up with Arts Officer Moya Hodgers with husband Ultan. She told me that the groundwork for Culture Quest had taken quite some time due to planning permission being needed for the proposals for 20 locations, but the planning office were very helpful to see it through. She went on to say the quest will also be advantageous to the area and they had been working in conjunction with the Tourist Office throughout. Not only can people physically actually take part in the hunt, but people living abroad can also access the App and become involved too.
Finally, before I departed, I got a word with Robert Byrne and Gillian Callan from Ard Easmuinn who is David’s sister sand said it’s a brilliant idea and will help to showcase the artists work.
The App can be downloaded from any of the App Stores for € 5. So if you’re looking for an adventurous day out in the car, why not check it out over the coming weeks?