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Thanks to the pandemic, nature and history lovers, no matter in which corner of the world, cannot really imagine exploring the beauty of the Emerald Isle by travelling there. But if you happen to play the popular video game Assassin’s Creed® Valhalla, you could travel there virtually and immerse yourselves in the breathtaking landscapes of Ireland in the game’s first major expansion, Wrath of the Druids. Playing as Eivor, a fierce Viking clan-leader, they will have to make their way through haunted forests and dazzling sceneries while gaining influence among Gaelic Kings.
To celebrate Ireland’s starring role in the recently launched expansion, Tourism Ireland has teamed up with Ubisoft to highlight the destination’s otherworldly landscapes, rich culture and fascinating myths and folklore that feature in the Wrath of the Druids.
The game takes players to famous historical landmarks such as the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, the Hill of Tara in County Meath, the mountain of Ben Bulben in County Sligo and the city of Dublin.
The story takes place about 80 years after the first Viking raid on Ireland and four decades after the Vikings first settled Dublin. At the time of the Vikings, Dublin was a bustling trading port, and so the city, filled with enemies and allies, will be a central hub in the game.
Players encounter fascinating landscapes such as the famous Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim. This geological wonder is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and steeped in the legend of Fionn mac Cumhaill, who was leader of an ancient band of warriors called the Fianna.
Other inspiring sites that appear include the mountain of Ben Bulben in County Sligo, forever linked to an array of Celtic legends and with one of Ireland’s greatest poets, W.B Yeats.
Armagh, associated with Cúchulainn, the greatest of all Irish warriors also features, as will the evocative Hill of Tara in County Meath. Dating back to 2000 BC Tara was the actual seat of the High Kings of Ireland and remains central to Gaelic identity and culture today.
Wrath of the Druids players also have the chance to conquer ringforts, which were circular fortified settlements heavily in use in Ireland at the time. The diameter of these defensive structures ranged from 15m (50 feet) up to as large as 35m (115 feet). Designed to keep raiders out and animals in, more than 45,000 ringforts still survive in Ireland today, with the stone built Grianán of Aileach in County Donegal on the Wild Atlantic Way one of best examples to be found.
Eivor’s new adventure will give players the opportunity to unravel the mysteries of an ancient druidic cult, The Children of Danu, based on the Tuatha Dé Danann, a race of deities and heroes in Irish mythology who were skilled in the arts, science, poetry and magic.
They’ll encounter mythological figures, such as the Púca and the Morrigan, who are associated with Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival that can be traced back as the birthplace of Halloween. These figures remain at the centre of Irish Halloween traditions today and The Púca Festival, a twenty-first-century Samhain celebration, is held in County Meath and neighbouring County Louth every year.
“The Viking heritage and myriad of Celtic myths in Ireland were absolutely the perfect fit for Wrath of the Druids, our first expansion of AC Valhalla,” said Fabian Salomon (Producer at Ubisoft Bordeaux).
He added: “We worked with experts to ensure the accuracy of the story and put much effort into making this expansion as authentic and as interesting as possible. With deep narrative exploration, all new features for players to try out and fantastic new Viking and Celtic locations to explore, we believe the end product will not just excite our audience but will do justice to Ireland’s incredible history and mythology.”
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