3 Irish sites have been nominated to UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Royal Sites - Queen Maeve's Cairin, Knocknarea

The Neolithic Passage Tombs in County Sligo, the Valentia Transatlantic Cable in County Kerry and the Royal Sites in Ireland have been included in the new provisional list for Ireland, an essential step towards achieving UNESCO World Heritage status.

The Provisional List is a list of the most important natural and cultural sites located within the borders of a country, which can demonstrate an outstanding universal value and are therefore likely to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Royal Sites – Rathcrogan

Neolithic tombs

The Neolithic passage tomb landscape of County Sligo, on the Wild Atlantic Way on Ireland’s Wild West Coast, is one of the most beautiful expressions of ritual monument construction across Europe five or six years ago. This includes the famous Queen Maeve cairn towering over Mount Knocknerea. Built of over 30,000 tons of stone, this massive Neolithic tomb overlooks Sligo Bay.

A cable connecting Europe to America

The County Kerry site is home to the 3,000km transatlantic copper cable that transformed global communications in 1858. It was placed between the island of Valentia in Ireland and Newfoundland in Canada, connecting Europe to the Americas and cutting communication times from weeks to minutes.

Royal Sites - Rock of Cashel lead
Royal Sites – Rock of Cashel lead

The first message sent on August 16, 1858 was a note of congratulations from Queen Victoria to US President James Buchanan. The Valentia cable station was closed in the 1960s when other technologies replaced the copper cables used to transmit information across the Atlantic. It has since been renovated and now visitors have an interactive experience called “The Eighth Wonder”.

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From Paganism to Christianity

Royal sites in Ireland were the sites of major royal inaugurations, ceremonies and assemblies, each representing the four Irish provinces and the Meath area. These sites are heavily steeped in myth and legend and are associated with Ireland’s transition from paganism to Christianity and St. Patrick.

Navan Fort in County Armagh was the royal seat of the Kings of Ulster, Dun Eilean in County Kildare was for the Kings of Leinster, the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary was for the Kings of Munster, and Rathcrogan in County Roscommon was for the Kings. . The Hill of Tara in County Meath was the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. Finally, Uisneach Hill in County Westmeath is traditionally regarded as the epicenter or navel of Ireland, the place where the five nations met.

Valentia Island - on the Wild Atlantic Way
Valentia Island – on the Wild Atlantic Way

All the sites were chosen for their ability to express great universal value, that is, to transcend national boundaries and present the same precious nature to all present and future generations of humanity.

The island of Ireland already has several places on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. These include Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, Skellig Michael on the coast of County Kerry and Bruna Boyne in County Meath. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark in County Clare, the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark spanning counties Fermanagh and Cavan, and the Copper Coast Geopark in County Waterford have been awarded UNESCO Global Geopark status.

Finally, the island has three UNESCO cities – Belfast is a UNESCO City of Music; Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature; Galway is a UNESCO Film City. Not forgetting hurling, the sport registered in the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

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