Tourism of the people, by the people, for the people – the story of StoryMap

Thanks to a sharing in Facebook’s Responsible Networking Group – thank you Jeremy Smith and Ethical Traveller, Catherine Mack – I was introduced to and heard myself (there was no one else to hear) let out an almighty YEEEEES!

I wasn’t planning to write a post today but felt compelled to share this development from Dublin with readers of Conscious.Travel who are proving to be such a loyal supportive group despite the  fact that most of you are invisible.

This initiative proves why the focus on place and people can be so powerful. Two unemployed Dubliners served themselves and their community by providing the means whereby Dubliners could tell their stories and invite others to share what what makes Dublin unique. It’s an innovation that simply emerged from the grassroots, required no top-down planning or feasibility studies and, once you start watching is guaranteed to distract you and make you want more – perhaps even to visit Dublin. Simple, Brilliant and in its execution, utterly Irish!

It ticks all seven of Conscious Travel’s working Principles – creative people, with a sense of purpose talking about their place, using social media and story telling to pull customers towards their community; offering opportunities to tell stories about the culture and nature that is or needs to be protected; and suggesting that if visitors simply slowed their pace, they too could create stories of their own. The end result: Plenty – plenty of delight for the viewer, fulfillment for creators, a reason to stay long and savour more for guests and a highly cost effective way of expressing the kind of quirky experience and warm welcome you might expect from Dubliners.

Here’s the Story Map story in the creators’ own words – they don’t need me to be a intermediary……

Storymap is the brainchild of two Dublin filmmakers, Andy Flaherty and Tom Rowley. Just back from working abroad, unemployed and in between film projects, the lads became annoyed with all the negative press the city was receiving. The bleak tales of recession, the gloomy accounts of unemployment and the notion that Ireland’s best and brightest had emigrated was completely at odds with what the lads were experiencing being back in their hometown.

“We wanted to do something to get people as excited about the city as we were. While loads of great people have left the country, you only have to walk into any gallery, gig or any of the fantastic spoken word or comedy nights to see that Dublin is a ridiculously fun and vibrant city with wonderful characters and a flourishing art scene. We wanted to bring the charm and character that had been pushed aside by the Celtic Tiger and bring it centre stage” – Andy

The lads came up with Storymap, a web based multimedia project that revives Ireland’s age-old tradition of storytelling and tries to capture the personality of Dublin city through its stories and storytellers. These stories are filmed being told where they happened and integrated into a live map to create a charming and layered collective vision of Dublin city made by the people of the city.

“Walking around the city – everyone has their own stories that they remember on certain streets, stories that flavour their personal experience of the city, that they tell on to friends. We thought it’d be exciting to pool those stories in one place, like one big pub where everyone shares their stories, creating a sense of what the city means to Dubliners. It’s a simple idea, but with complex possibilities, and we’re only just at the beginning of it.” – Tom

The site is expanded by a story a week to create a ‘Storymap’ of the entire city – a vision of the city as lived across nationalities, generations and centuries. The site is developed by Tercet, and was built through funding by DCEB.

OK, now for a bit of healthy interaction and dialogue so that I don’t have to talk to myself all morning. Which stories did you enjoy the most?  Why don’t you take a small step and fill in the comment box or, just as good,  share this post with friends.

8 Responses to “Tourism of the people, by the people, for the people – the story of StoryMap”

  1. This is a great inspiration for incoming tourism! A beautiful way of creating a connection between an outsider and an insider and making people curious about the city or region. Wauw! Thank you for sharing.


  2. Great idea, full of detail and possibilities. Thanks for sharing on!


  3. Great write up for Andy and Tom and so well deserved. They have put so much into this project. Its a class take on the age old art of storytelling bringing it into the 21st Century.


    • Thank you Tracey Flaherty, Sydney, Steven and Tracey Huguley for your comments. As stead, this was an impromptu post and, for the record, one that broke all page view records. Andy & Tom – you’re hot!


  4. Anna – loved it! Linking stories to place through mapping is right up my interest area! Hmmmm…. has me thinking! Thanks for sharing this : )!


  5. Love this. Thanks for posting today. I am rebuilding my website and I am providing conscious tourism, partnering with locals in the Bahamas-swimming with wild dolphins. See my website traceyhuguley.

    More to come. I am so glad to be a part of this community!



  6. What a fabulous, creative idea – and a potent tool – both for community building and for helping reveal a destination’s sense of place. Thank you, Andy Flaherty and Tom Rowley. And thank you, Anna, for posting.



  1. Forget branding – let people, place & personality shine through | Conscious.Travel - November 16, 2012

    […] ecstatic to have found another example of peer to peer marketing,  I penned my last post Tourism By the People, Of the People, For the People  etc which proved to be the most popular I’ve written so […]


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