Interactive app unearths the story of medieval siege

The history of Carrick Castle is being brought to life in an app designed by a Whiteabbey woman.

Ellen Bell produced Siege! At Carrickfergus Castle as an interactive game to be played within the medieval landmark.

The software focuses on the 1315-16 Bruce Siege of the Castle and is aimed at Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils as a mobile educational tool.

The app, which has been nominated for an award in this year’s Celtic Media Festival, was released for download last year.

“I make different educational resources and at the moment I’m creating an app on a decade of centenaries,” said Ellen, from Digital Key Limited.

“I used to go to Carrick Castle for school trips when I was younger so it was somewhere I was very familiar with - it was always very fascinating and there’s so much of it that’s still intact.

“The original idea was to use GPS with the app but the walls of the castle are so thick that it wouldn’t have worked, so it basically locates the player through the narrative instead and is designed to be played in the castle.

“We’re hoping to have an official launch of the app when the castle gets wi-fi.”

The app begins with brief introductory videos and the user’s mission. The player must take on the role of the Earl of Ulster’s constable and agree to defend Carrickfergus Castle against the invading Scottish army.

The software has been nominated for the Kieran Hegarty Award for Innovation in the festival.

Taking place from April 2-4 in Cornwall, the event celebrates the unique languages and cultures of the Celtic nations and regions on screen and in broadcasting.

The event also recognises the use of technology in an innovative, interactive and creative way.

For more information on the app, visit