Friday 17 April 2015

Ireland's ancient monuments get 3D treatment

A new website – – has been published featuring 3D images and models of some of Ireland's most famous heritage sites and ancient monuments.

The monastery at Sceilg Mhichíl, the passage tomb at Newgrange and the Poulnabrone dolmen are among the ancient structures which have been scanned using cutting edge 3D technology, to produce highly detailed models, images and videos. 3D digital models have been produced of over 130 buildings and monuments. It is expected the data will benefit the education, tourism and conservation sectors.

Launching the site, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys TD said: "How many of us have been inside the passage tomb at Newgrange, or have scaled the heights of Sceilg Mhichíl?

"This fascinating website will give members of the public a much closer look at many of our best known heritage sites. The 3D online collection includes a series of high crosses, ancient burial tombs and heritage sites such as Brú na Bóinne, which can be viewed in incredible detail. In fact, the technology is so effective it makes it easier to view engravings and other features which might not otherwise be visible.

“By using the most up-to-date technology to reproduce some of our most ancient monuments, this project will make it easier for members of the public to explore heritage sites. We have such an incredible array of ancient monuments in this country; this website effectively brings them right into your home."

For each of the 130 monuments which have been scanned and digitised, online users can access images, a video, 3D models, a location map showing where the monument can be found in the country and information on its historical and archaeological significance. Technical information about how the 3D model was produced is also available.

The 3D-Icons project, funded under the European Commission’s ICT Policy Support Programme, aims to provide the European Cultural Portal Europeana with 3D models of architectural and archaeological monuments of remarkable cultural importance. The project brought together 16 partners from across 11 European countries with relevant expertise in 3D modelling and digitization.

Ireland’s contribution to the 3D Icons project has been conducted by the Discovery Programme, which is funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht through the Heritage Council.