Urban Orienteering in an Irish City

20 August 2020
By Elaine Murphy
elaine@TheCork.ie

Cork City Council have announced a new initiative that casts a close eye on Shandon. A permanent urban orienteering route is being developed which will wind its way through streets, alleys and parks to spotlight the buildings of this Architectural Conservation Area (ACA). As part of this initiative, a public competition is being organised to encourage people to go out and look at the area with fresh eyes and submit photographs of their drawings that capture the character and features of the area. The winning drawings will be printed as permanent markers to identify each orienteer checkpoint. See https://www.corkcity.ie/orienteering for competition information and entry details.

The permanent orienteering route will consist of a series of fixed checkpoints marked by a brightly coloured, distinctive Orienteering flag. Participants will use a map with the locations of the checkpoints circled. The starting place, the sequence of checkpoints, and the finish location are also shown. Then, using the map and the clues provided, the participant can navigate from one checkpoint to another in the order specified. In addition to the orienteering flag, each checkpoint will have a QR code which links to a webpage with more information on the area and a winning illustration relevant to that location.

Cork City Council Conservation Officer, Ciara O’Flynn, said “The aim of this project is to raise awareness and celebrate the value of Architectural Conservation Areas amongst the residents, business and communities who live and work in these areas in an interactive and creative way by creating an arts-based urban orienteering course through Shandon. An enduring legacy will provide a way to enjoy the historic urban landscape in a healthy and fun way.”

The project is being delivered by Abarta Heritage and artist Sheelagh Broderick who both have a strong track record in facilitating public engagement projects in a variety of settings. Róisín Burke (Abarta Heritage) and Sheelagh Broderick describe the project as a collaborative effort to blend creativity with community engagement, supported by solid research which will create an authentic and innovative experience for participants. In addition to accepting images, the competition website will have the capacity to accept audio uploads giving residents the opportunity to share their stories of the area.

Sheelagh Broderick said “We would really like to see the residents living in the area engage with this project. The Project has been designed observing social distancing guidelines as all information will be placed online, but as not everyone is online, we hope that people will spread the word through their own networks”.

The project is supported by Cork City Council and is funded through the Heritage Council and Creative Ireland. Visit the competition website https://www.corkcity.ie/orienteering to find out more, and regular project updates will be featured on Cork City Council’s Facebook and Twitter channels.

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