Strabane Weekly News
News ‘Appy’ times at Sion Mills Stables as local heritage centre awarded prestigious tourism awardThursday, 26 November 2015

‘Appy’ times at Sion Mills Stables as local heritage centre awarded prestigious tourism award thumbnail
Francs Hood, Sion Stables project manager, is pictured with the project’s ‘Best Travel and Tourism’ award it picked up at the all-Ireland 2015 ‘Appys’ awards in Dublin
IT’S ‘appy’ days at Sion Mills Stables this week after the local heritage centre were awarded a prestigious tourism award.

Sion Mills Buildings Preservation Trust’s (SMBPT) ‘Heritage Trail App’ at the historic building received the gold award in the highly competitive ‘Best Travel and Tourism’ category at the all-Ireland 2015 ‘Appys’ awards.

The awards – which celebrate the best in innovative technology – were held in Lilly Bordello’s in Dublin on Thursday last.

The innovative Sion app allows users to delve deeper into the rich industrial history of the village taking them on a guided tour of key sites, retelling the story of 170 years of linen production and the life of the people who worked and lived there.

Using augmented reality codes, the app unlocks video content from days gone by at each of the interpretative panels around the village.

It was one of the final four nominees alongside Board Fáilte’s ‘Ireland Dublin Discovery Trails’, Digital i3 Ltd’s ‘Wish Woo Were Here’ and ‘The Cliffs of Moher Audio Guide’.

Surpassing its strong competition, Sion Stables won the coveted award, taking its rightful place among the best apps in the travel and tourism industry.

The app is the brainchild of Sion Stables project manager, Francis Hood. Speaking of his delight at picking up the award, he said: “I had a clear vision of what I wanted to create. With the talent and skill of local heritage and digital consultancy company Oli, I knew we could deliver an unforgettable visitors experience that is innovative and fully immersive.


“We were passionate about taking the visitors’ experiences to the next level, and it is great to be recognised for doing just that.”

Celia Ferguson, speaking on behalf of the SMBPT, commended Mr Hood for his vision on the project: “Thanks go to Francis Hood, our project manager.

“It is a testament to the huge collection of archive material maximised by this remarkable technology which is groundbreaking and unique.

“This award is a continuation of the long history of innovation, excellence and quality which was the hallmark of Sion Mills.”

Also on hand to congratulate the project was Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan. Through his department, the Sion Mills Preservation Buildings Trust was awarded £26,316 under the DOE Challenge Fund in 2014/15.

This funding enabled the design and launch of the informative mobile phone app for tourists and visitors to the village.

“I wish to congratulate Sion Mills Buildings Preservation Trust and the developer Oli on winning this coveted all-Ireland award.

“Their heritage app is an excellent resource which helps tourists and visitors to fully appreciate Sion Mills’ rich architectural and cultural heritage.

“This innovation has overcome strong competition from across the island and is a prime example of how my department is helping to achieve a better environment and stronger economy in all parts of the north,” he said.

For more information on Sion Stables Museum and restaurant visit or call them on 028 8165 9772.