A one of a kind, interactive Irish Folklore, storybook has just been launched on Android. The creator of the Irish folklore app, Marion Rose McFadden is a Donegal Artist inspired by Celtic Heritage and Mythology.
Marion, who is originally from Carrickfinn, spoke to Donegal Now about her latest interactive fairy-tale book, ‘The Sunbeam Path,’ and why she decided to get involved with app creation.
After developing another app called UsIrish, Marion got a glimpse into what technology was available for storytelling. She said “I started out by meeting a guy through Celtic medieval re-enactment and I knew him for years at the stage where I was launching UsIrish. He helped with that because I knew he was in digital media so I was running ideas past him for the first app which was a gnome translator. He showed me the technology that was available for interactive storybooks and to be honest I just thought to myself the druid’s idea of not writing down stories wasn’t applicable anymore and I could see this technology bringing stories to life again.
“I’m not saying books will ever be replaced but I think the way a story teller can bring the story alive to children has changed. Children will get a chance to interact with a storytelling app while getting some educational fun out of it and I thought that this is really nice clean technology. So I went from there and partnered up with Michael Murray and between the two of us we are doing the production of these types of books.”
The app which launched during the week is still at its testing stages but Marion has been getting a lot of positive feedback so far. She said “People have downloaded it to tell me if there are any glitches in it. There are only so many platforms to test it on and so far we have heard a lot of good reports.”
Having always had an interest in Celtic Mythology, Marion explained that it is something she has been happy to dedicate her time to “Well this has been a bootstrapped product because we have done everything ourselves. The first app, UsIrish, was developed for an older age group and it was marketed more towards America. For this particular one we first released it as a book before we began developing the characters to be interactive. I actually written book two and we are pushing ahead in terms of development. Google said we were the first of our kind for the type of interactive books we have developed and as soon as we have tested Windows and Android for the English version then we can go ahead with the Irish version.”
Children get to learn about Irish Folklore and also important life lessons through the app. “Its educational for children for example book two (The Dolmen Arch) is where Nora gets invited to Fairyland and she hasn’t known ‘Caoilte’ very long so she has to speak to her aunty first so there’s all these little learning curves for children within the interaction that teaches them important lessons like ‘stranger danger.’”
Marion has also made sure that her characters were going to be a good influence on her young readers. She described the thought process behind the characters in her books “The fairies are body positive characters, these fairies aren’t your typical half-dressed Tinkerbelle and Nora is a contemporary little girl in jeans and a t-shirt. I have had a lot of people comment on how positive it is because the main protagonist is not you’re a-typical pretty little girl in a pink dress. I also had the opportunity of working with a fantastic young digital artist in Belfast who has worked on ‘Game of Thrones’ and it was his first ever kids book and while we were developing the aunt, he was laughing because I was explaining that she is not going to be like an old fashioned spinster aunt, she is the cool aunty that you can talk to, she goes for drinks with her friends and still hangs out with Nora. She’s the one you go to, to find out more about the fairies.”
For more information on the app or to download go to: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.webviewer.dmc.webviewhtml5&hl=en
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.