A transatlantic cable on the island of Valentia has come close to becoming a world heritage site as the Irish government announced it was submitting site details to Unesco Paris.
Initial attempts to stretch the world’s first transatlantic cable from the island of Co Kerry to Canada were made in 1857, and repeated attempts were made until it was laid and successfully used in 1866, connecting Ireland with the fishing village of Heart’s Content. in Newfoundland.
As the invention of copper wire reduced the time needed to send messages across the Atlantic Ocean from two weeks to just a few minutes, it was hailed as a great scientific and engineering feat.
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said Thursday that the Valentia Island cape was added to the Interim List as part of a joint offer with Canada.
A site must be on the Tentative List for at least one year before being designated as a world heritage site.
Two other sites have also been added to the list: the Co Sligo Passage Tomb Landscape and the Royal Sites of Ireland: Dun Ailinne, Co Kildare; Uisneach Hill, Co Westmeath; Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary; Rathcroghan, Co Roscommon and Tara, Co Meath; with the potential for this appointment to include Emain Macha/Navan Fort, Co Armagh.
The department said an application on behalf of The Cultural Landscape of the Burren Uplands in Co Clare and Co Galway offers “significant potential” to be a future World Heritage property, but that “further work by applicants in defining the outstanding universal value of the landscape according to UNESCO requirements” was necessary.
A total of six applications for the Tentative List were received by the June 2021 deadline.
O’Brien said: “To the three candidates, who have met the necessary criteria, please know that we will support them as best we can to match the local effort for the full World Heritage nomination in the years to come.
“It will be a challenging path, but one that you have shown that you are willing to travel and we will do it with you.”
The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, said it was an “exhaustive process”.
“The result of this meticulous assessment is a credible and historic series of sites with World Heritage ambitions.
“We will work with applicants over the next few years to build the necessary application documentation and establish the management structures to ensure they can take their place in the pantheon of globally important World Heritage properties.”
Ireland currently has two Unesco World Heritage sites: Bru na Boinne in Co Meath, added in 1993; and Skellig Michael located off the coast of Kerry, which was listed in 1996.
The last time the Provisional List for Ireland was updated was in 2010.
The department added that it intends to review the Tentative List more regularly “to increase opportunities” for sites with World Heritage status in Ireland.
A site may be inscribed on the World Heritage List if the World Heritage Committee determines that it is of outstanding universal value to humanity.