Launch of 3D-ICONS in Ireland

The launch of in Dublin

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, has (Thursday 16/04/2015) launched the Discovery Programme’s new website ( ), featuring 3D images and models of some of our most famous heritage sites and ancient monuments at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin.

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.

Speaking today Minister Humphreys 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.

“The 3D icons website should also act as a very useful resource for the education sector, and also offers benefits to the tourism sector in terms of promoting our incredible heritage assets. The benefits of this kind of material is particularly relevant this week, as the Minister for Tourism, Paschal Donohoe TD, has launched the ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ tourism initiative. I will be encouraging the Discovery Programme to make this material available to our tourism bodies and to the education sector, so it can be used to its full potential.” 

Minister Heather Humphreys TD receiving demonstration of the 3D-Icons website by Anthony Corns

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.

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