How to Create Your Own Virtual Irish Town
Tourism Ireland launched "Ireland Town," an interactive game on Facebook similar to the wildly popular "Farmville" game, last week.
For anyone contemplating a trip to Ireland, real or imagined, your virtual Irish self can visit popular tourist attractions, such as the Guinness Storehouse, and send postcards to Facebook friends.
The marketing company says it is the first national tourism board in the world to launch a social game. Once registered, visitors name their own virtual town, run a pub, build a house, and can even win a real trip to Ireland by competing on the site.
Some reviewers of the game have been less than enthusiastic, saying it portrays nothing but cheesy Irish stereotypes (think potatoes, pubs and St. Patrick's Day). One critique says it is "sickeningly cutesy, eminently pointless and saddled with a ridiculously unimaginative name."
But Tourism Ireland is happy with the site. "This is a fantastic new way to showcase all destination Ireland has to offer," Alison Metcalfe, vice president of the marketing group said. "From painting your face green for St. Patrick's Day, to releasing your inner Cliffs of Moher roar, crowning King Puck at Ireland's oldest fair, to puffin spotting on Rathlin Island, Ireland Town has a new experience for everyone."
Members of Ireland Town earn points by completing a range of virtual tasks and challenges, with the grand prize winner receiving a pot of gold in the form of a vacation to the Emerald Isle.