Unearthing a new visitor experience at Céide Fields
Marcon Fit-Out were appointed Principal Contractor by OPW to work alongside Design Team Tandem to deliver the new interpretive fit-out of the Visitor Centre at Ceide Fields in County Mayo, Ireland.
Céide Fields is the oldest known field system in the world dating back almost 6,000 years. It is a unique Neolithic landscape of world importance and is in UNESCO‘s tentative list to gain World Heritage status.
The new exhibition tells the story of the everyday lives of the farming people who lived there.
Many different techniques have been incorporated into the centre. An immersive audio-visual 360-degree animated displays, state of the art technology, graphics, and interactives along with items from the era significantly enhance the visitor’s experience.
An infinity box model shows an accurate viewpoint of the landscape during the Neolithic period. The model includes, sandstone walls, dairy herds, neolithic people, an animal pen, grass roofed house and court cairn. The model is part of a live projected, living landscape which brings it to life. Walls of mirrors surround the model to deliver a reflection, giving the illusion the walled landscape continues for kilometres. Projection lights activate the stills and supplements them with projected moving characters and animals within the farmed landscape, allowing visitors to really immerse themselves in the history of the area.
Bi-lingual displays and exhibitions will ensure accessibility and inclusion for all, as they have been produced in English and Irish, with written translations available in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish.
The new exhibition was jointly funded by OPW, Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, under a Joint Strategic Tourism Capital Investment Programme.
Commenting on the launch, Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said:
“The Céide Fields is an extremely significant historical site, in Ireland and across the world. The new visitor experience will enable visitors from home and abroad to immerse themselves in the fascinating heritage of the Céide Fields and encourage more people to visit beautiful north Mayo, generating significant economic impact for the area.”
Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, added:
“There is undoubtedly a certain magic to Céide Fields, and it humbles the mind to enter what local archaeologists uncovered is the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world. Our knowledge of this site has been so enriched since this award-winning Visitor Centre first opened in 1993 and the new exhibition together with the guided tour will allow us to share this new research with visitors so they can engage more deeply with our heritage, understand it better and cherish it more.”
Malcolm Noonan T.D, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform said:
“This exciting, modern, updated exhibition will bring visitors back in time to see one of Ireland’s oldest monuments in a fresh new light. The prehistoric fields, houses and tombs are a silent witness to the Neolithic farmers who first brought agriculture to Ireland. Lying hidden for thousands of years beneath the bog, the story of the men and women who affected the Irish landscape and built our earliest monuments is now imaginatively brought to life and up to date in terms of archaeological research. This uniquely Irish landscape is truly of international significance, and I commend all those involved for developing this fitting tribute to one of our most important National Monuments in State care.”