The worldwide game craze Pokémon Go should help teach people about important historic sites instead of disrespecting them, says a historian and councillor.
Cork City Council member Kieran McCarthy said the inclusion of monuments like those in memory of murdered Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain or six men killed by British forces in Kerrypike outside Cork is very disappointing.
In the game launched last week, players are directed by maps on their phones to different locations, where characters are to be found and caught in a virtual reality image on their screens.
Although players do not physically interact with monuments or buildings, Mr McCarthy said these are places of solemnity that deserve more respect.
“The MacCurtain monument in Blackpool remembers him being shot in his home 96 years ago, yet you can go there looking for a cartoon character and learn nothing about Tomás MacCurtain,” he said.
“I agree with the global call that developers revisit some sites they have chosen for them to appear.
“But I would also urge them to help it become an educational tool so people can learn about an area’s geography and heritage, even just a sentence or two about each important location,” Mr McCarthy said.
He has written many books on Cork’s history and also provides local history programmes to Cork schools to get children interested in their local heritage.
Other sites where Pokémon Go play has drawn criticism include the Auschwitz Holocaust museum and Arlington Cemetery in the US.
Safety concerns have also been raised about people playing while driving or entering private property and crossing rail lines in pursuit of Pokémon.
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