Skip to content
Facebook
Youtube
SOCIALICON
SOCIALICON

About us The shorter version

What we’re about – bringing the stories of Ireland to life

Hatch a plan. Get yourself to Ireland for next year! Let’s put together an itinerary or alternatively, go fo one of my bespoke tours: Heroes and Villains, Myths and Monsters, Dead Poet’s Society or Magical Mystery. 

Give it colour. On tour, I will ensure that you are immersed in the stories and traditions of the area. Expect all of your senses to work overtime – and yes, there may well be some homework to do prior to your trip, but fun homework, like a film to watch etc.

Horse’s Mouth. Not only will I be telling you a plethora of stories, there will be a playlist of Irish music to blow you away as well as the best of our audio archive for ‘deep dives’ and we’ll be meeting some of the local experts along the way.

Free Consultation. Let’s talk for free and see if we can hatch a cunning plan for the best tour of Ireland you will ever have. It’s important that we have a good rapport and that I have a proper sense of what your expectations are. 

What we’re also about – making your story blossom

Hatch a plan. Got stories and characters galore to tell them in your locality? Don’t wait until it is too late, let us help you get a plan in place to record and promote your community’s rich heritage.

Give it colour. Whether it’s making a radio series, weekly podcasts, GPS audio tours or setting up a Rambling House storytelling centre, make your place flourish and see footfall increase accordingly.

Horse’s Mouth. We’re destination marketers specialising in digital heritage. If your locality has a lot to tell the world, let us help you bring those stories to life by capturing the true character of your area from the ‘horse’s mouth’.

Free Consultation. Help preserve your heritage and promote your area as an appealing destination in one fell swoop. Have a look at our various services, hear some of the many tales we have recorded and get in touch when ready for a free consultation.

N.B. If you really want to hear what our back story is, it’s below, but let’s get working on your story instead we say!

About us The full nine yards!

pj_ward

Racontour’s story

Hello there, I’m Racontour Production’s founder and creative director, Jack Ward a.k.a. John Ward  and I’ve had an interest in Irish culture and history from an early age. My grandfather, PJ Ward was the T.D. for Donegal South in the First Dáil Eireann in 1918.

Though I never knew PJ, the connection sparked a curiosity that stayed with him and lead to me getting involved with local travel and heritage projects including running heritage festivals in Donegal Town around St. Patrick’s Day in the mid-1990s.

 
 
 

View My Work

Timeline

An in-house lawyer for a number of media and I.T. blue chip companies in England, I decided the time was right to move back to Ireland in 2008 and do something new and exciting in the ever-expanding field of digital media.

The burgeoning phenomenon of GPS appealed to me as an area that could be used to better purpose with such ingenuity. Driving along with a sat nav guiding him one day, I thought it would be great if this technology could also tell him about the place I was driving through – but with a local voice doing the talking. On that day, the first seed of Digital Landscape Gardening was planted.
 
It’s been a long road full of trial and error as technology has developed. I’ve since augmented my experience in the field of heritage and digital media with degrees in Irish Studies and Digital Technology and Design. The art of storytelling and of technology are a perfect mix in the Internet of Things and with a bit of Irish meitheal in place, I believe the Irish could create a digital landscape garden that could give Eden a run for its money.
pike
Mid 1990's

Mid 1990's

South Donegal

Sealing one’s fate

The first Irish I.T. company I set up was InterNETalia in Donegal Town in the mid 1990’s with two others. I heard the words ‘inter alia’ a fair bit in law meaning ‘amongst other things’ and thought as the Internet was just that, a bit of wordplay would give a memorable company name. Twenty years on, this has proven to be the case, complete with my original logo!
 
I worked on the copywriting and marketing side of the team and wrote the bulk of the first Donegal Town website, long since gone alas. I remember a talk he gave about the advent of the Internet to a bemused audience in the then Hyland Central Hotel. Looking out the window I saw what looked like a seal in the bay and said ‘you’d be able to send pictures of that moving seal to someone in Australia in seconds’. Thankfully, the Internet has proven to be a lot more than just long distance seal watching.
 
Upon settling in England, I sold up my share in the company to Alec Reid who has grown the company with finesse. I’m delighted to see the company still thrive over 25 years later in the spheres of contract management software steel stockholding software and web development.

North Donegal

Jonwards and upwards

Upon returning to Ireland in 2008, I set up Headland New Media Limited. Its location was the very last house in Ireland at the northernmost point being Malin Head in Donegal. Using a widget and a laptop that managed to get a tea candle burning through the screen by accident one night didn’t augur well for a new digital venture, but one or two lucky breaks happened. Eircom wanted to showcase that such a remote location could be facilitated with Broadband in 2009 and bar the odd outage due to stormy weather, it worked well.
 
Inishowen proved to be the perfect location for building up the first set of GPS points of interest with audio. It also was the setting for the well-received radio series Rambling House where the many colourful stories of the peninsula were recorded for posterity. My work in Inishowen was entered as part of his Certificate in Tourism Business Practice in W.I.T. and got me noticed by Failte Ireland where I was a finalist in their 2010 Business Challenge Awards.

 

2008 - 2010

2008 - 2010

2010 - 2013

2010 - 2013

GPS audio tours

From Donegal to Youghal

A slew of GPS audio tours were produced during this period using both a third party platform and the now defunct EveryTrail walking trails platform. Notable tours include a commission from Failte Ireland for Sligo Town and from the Heritage Council for Youghal and the Bluestack Mountains.
 
Other highlights include  the historic town of Cashel who helped us create a multilingual audio tour for the town early on in the venture. Thanks also go to the Stokes family in Castle Durrow for commissioning the Durrow audio tours and the Gleesons in Roscommon for the Real Roscommon Experience, both gratefully supported with LEADER assistance. 
 
These were tough years to be an innovative start up in a market that felt the brunt of the recession. Time out would eventually be needed.

Racontour Productions

London calling

All good things must come to an end and it was time to move on from the most northernly point. The last act in Inishowen was a memorable one in negotiating with Lucasfilm to film The Last Jedi on my then property. 
 
Racontour Productions first saw light upon a return to England in 2014 when a new website and a complete revamp and AudioBoom categorisation of all audio material was done. A variety of well received Blog articles became a new feature to the website.
 
In 2015, Racontour Productions proudly became a bona fide West End producer with its theatrical comedy, ‘Method and Madness’ in the Actor’s Church, Covent Garden.
 
The native travel app for Donegal, the Donegal App was completely overhauled and extended to eight tours in 2016 until it was taken down in early 2018, largely to make way for work on the new digital landscape garden project. 
2014 - 2016

2014 - 2016

2016 - 2018

2016 - 2018

A sort of homecoming

New direction

Upon completion of a Masters degree in Irish Studies at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham, I returned to Ireland with an increased sense of the Irish experience and where to take Racontour Productions next. 
 
That degree’s dissertation achieved a distinction being a play called ‘In Each Other’s Shadow’. More theatrical endeavours are in the works.
 
Settling in the south east, a commission came from Wexford County Council to produce a GPS audio tour for The Norman Way which was well-received for its perspective on a sensitive area of Irish heritage.
 
A degree in Digital Technology and Design at the Technology University Dublin was awarded in 2018 with distinction. The necessary skill sets had been added to the mix for what would be needed next.

Going all out

Getting from A to Z

Racontour Productions is focusing on ensuring the Digital Landscape Garden comes to life and becomes a valuable and colourful addition to Irish culture and travel. The idea is that every part of the country shall be allowed to upload their rich content to this new digital archive platform for free.
 
Between now and that fine day happening, I’d be happy to work with you to get your content right or to get recording those voices before they are gone. Get in touch for a free consultation or to let me know how you’d like to see this project develop.
2019 - 2022

2019 - 2022

                                                Post pandemic

                                                Post pandemic

Story Teller

Say hello to Jack Ward!

Let’s be clear – I’ve been known to many as Jack since the 1990s. I just happened to be born John. It’s like JFK, John aka Jack so get over it! Besides, Jack Ward Tour Guide is the best version of me there is and he is here to stay. 
 
After the pandemic, I made it my business to get out of the house and start meeting people. I stopped being a story collector and became a story teller in the form of a tour guide – and I liked it a lot.
 

In 2024, I intend to bring something really special to the culturally curious visitor to Ireland. To that person who is up for really going off the beaten path and hearing about the real Ireland in the the form of a host of stories and lore. Of going beyond where those ghastly zombuses take folk to! 

Our Values

Detail

We are meticulous in ensuring that every minutiae is dealt with. What we don’t know, we’ll find out and double check.

Authentic

Our ethos is to produce an honest, recognisable and satisfying service. This is best achieved with no frills or bull, just original copy.

Courtesy

We appreciate your custom and will ensure you are treated with courtesy, encouragement and a prompt and friendly service.

Diligent

It is a pleasure to work in the area of heritage and storytelling; we will go the extra mile to get the best out of the project.
Facebook
Youtube
SOCIALICON
SOCIALICON