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Kerry County Council warmly welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien that the Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Ensemble is to be included on the new Irish Tentative List of World Heritage Properties to be progressed for World Heritage inscription.

This has been a long-term objective of Kerry County Council since it was initiated by the Valentia Island Development Company in 2012 and has since been strongly supported by the Council, Government Departments and other public and private partners in Ireland and abroad.

Welcoming the announcement, the Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr John Francis Flynn, paid tribute to all involved in the project in bringing it to this stage. ‘I want to thank Kerry County Council for lending this important project its full support from the outset. I also want to salute Micheál Lyne and the members of the Valentia Island Development Company for their ambition and persistence in pursuing this for over a decade.

‘A key private partner has been the Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Foundation, led by Leonard Hobbs, who has played a key role in fundraising and promotion of the project and Dr. Donard Cogan, Chairman of the Valentia-Hearts Content Technical Group, all who have given their time on the voluntary basis. I want to remember the late Anthony O’Connell of VIDCO who had spearheaded the project until his death in March 2019.

‘This project has enjoyed cross-party support within Kerry County Council.’

Chief Executive of Kerry County Council, Moira Murrell, acknowledged the Pollmieir family who facilitated the project by gifting the Cable Station to the community in 2018. Ms. Murrell thanked the National Monuments Service, the Department of Rural & Community Development for their financial support for the conservation and adaptation of the Cable Station, Fáilte Ireland for funding the new visitor exhibition in the Cable Station, and the Munster Technological University for its support from the outset.

‘Kerry County Council is committed to working with the community and other partners to ensure the social and economic benefits of the designation to Valentia and wider area are maximised. This is primarily why Kerry County Council embraced this project. We are using it as a lever to regenerate the area and ensure a sustainable future for the people living there,’ she said.

The Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Ensemble is one of three projects to make it onto the new Irish Tentative List which was last announced in 2010. The focus now is to complete the works on the Cable Station and progress the application to the next stage which will involve further consultation with the local community, completion of the socio-economic plan, preparation of the joint management plan with Newfoundland/Canada and on the World Heritage nomination dossier, with the Department’s World Heritage Unit, for consideration by UNESCO in Paris. This may take at least five years to complete.

Placing the Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Ensemble on the Irish Tentative List for Word Heritage, following independent evaluation, signals that the project has outstanding universal value – the key UNESCO requirement - and merits consideration by UNESCO for World Heritage inscription. Unlike Ireland’s other two World Heritage sites at Skellig Michael and Brú na Boinne, this is an industrial heritage site where people live and work and will continue to do so.

It will also be Ireland’s first trans-national World Heritage application and the Kerry team has been working for several years with its Canadian partners in Hearts Content and Newfoundland, at the western end of the cable, to progress the joint application. Hearts Content is already on the Canadian Tentative List. It is acknowledged that it will take several more years for the joint project to be assessed by UNESCO but this is an enormous step forward for the project and a lot of the groundwork has already been done.

The linking of Europe and North America by undersea electric telegraph cable from Valentia to Newfoundland, first in 1858 and permanently from 1866, revolutionised global communications. It was the precursor of the linked world we have today. Messages that would take 9 days (one way) to cross the Atlantic Ocean by steam ship in 1870 now took minutes to transmit by telegraph. The achievement by Cyrus Field and his colleagues, after several attempts, was one of the great engineering and scientific achievements of the 19th century and Valentia was at its heart. Valentia Cable Station was the hub of Trans-Atlantic telecommunications for the next 100 years, employing up to 200 people directly and supporting an entire island community.

The closure of the Cable Station in 1966 led to a spiral of decline on the island which has been halted and reversed in recent years through community collaboration and public and private investment. The Council has been at the forefront of this regeneration, working closely with the community, and was successful in securing funding under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund to conserve and adapt the Cable Building as a museum and innovation hub respecting its heritage and tradition as a centre of innovatio



Kerry rowing clubs flock to Killarney for the start of the coastal season

There was a fantastic spectacle of colour and rowing on Lough Leane last Sunday (June 16th) with the coastal rowing clubs of Kerry participating in the first ‘Head of the […]




There was a fantastic spectacle of colour and rowing on Lough Leane last Sunday (June 16th) with the coastal rowing clubs of Kerry participating in the first ‘Head of the Lake’ time-trial for coastal one-design boats.

The event, hosted by the local Flesk Valley Rowing Club, signalled the start of the summer season for clubs rowing the coastal ‘one-design’ boats.

It was fitting that on the weekend that the Killarney National Park celebrated the 60th anniversary of the opening of Muckross House to the public, that hundreds of people also flocked to the Flesk Valley shore to appreciate and enjoy the splendour of the park.

Speaking after the event, Flesk Valley chairman, John Fleming thanked all the Kerry clubs who supported this new event and congratulated all the first-time rowers taking to the water in a competitive event for the first time.
“We were delighted to welcome our neighbouring clubs Workmens’ and Fossa, and look forward to renewing rivalries with them again at the Killarney Regatta at the end of this month,” he said.

“We would also like to thank Mary B. Teahan, Andrew Wharton, Johanna King and the Kerry Coastal Rowing Association for all their support and encouragement, and Denis O’Leary for coordinating safety on the water.”
Flesk Valley would also like to thank the Killarney National Park, Leanes Tool Hire, Hegartys Shop and Muckross Rowing Club for their support.

“This was a great start to the coastal rowing season, and augurs well for the months ahead as clubs build towards the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships to be held in Dingle at the end of August,” added the chairman.

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NPWS announces nature scholarships to mark ‘Muckross 60’

Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Niall O’ Donnchú, this week announced the inaugural ‘Muckross 60’ nature scholarships to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the opening of […]




Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Niall O’ Donnchú, this week announced the inaugural ‘Muckross 60’ nature scholarships to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the opening of Muckross House and Gardens to the public. The scholarships will be funded and managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Niall O Donnchú said, “Killarney and Muckross have a very special place in Ireland’s heritage legacy, and  such beautiful gems need constant care, nurturing and indeed protecting by future generations. In supporting these third level scholarships, the NPWS is building the knowledge base of the future to assist those generations in continuing to realise the full beauty and nature value of the very unique Muckross House and Gardens and Killarney National Park.”

Mr O Donnchú added: “Killarney has a long history of scholarship, research and frontier work on nature and that continues to this day in the management of Killarney National Park and Muckross House and Gardens. The endowment of these annual scholarships is a very clear attestation that this crucial work continues to be undertaken across our national park system and especially here in Killarney and Muckross. This work has been pioneering in respect of wildlife and nature research and indeed the reintroduction of endangered species and the discovery, even this year, of more.”

Minister for Education and Kerry T.D. Norma Foley also welcomed new scholarships to mark the 60th anniversary of Muckross House.

“Muckross House is one of the jewels in the crown of Kerry tourism and received almost one million visitors last year. These scholarships will further add to our understanding of this outstanding part of our national heritage,” she said.

Muckross House was built by the Herbert family, who were local landlords. They became very wealthy during the 18th century due to the working of the copper mines on the Muckross Peninsula. They commenced the building of the present Muckross House in 1839. It was completed in 1843 at cost of £30,000, just two years prior to the Great Irish Famine. The Herbert family hosted the visit of Queen Victoria to Muckross House in 1861 but later got into financial difficulties and lost the house in 1897.

It was then bought by Lord Ardilaun, a member of the Guinness family. He in turn sold it in 1911 to William Bowers Bourn, a wealthy Californian gold miner. Bowers Bourn gave it to his daughter Maud as a wedding gift when she married Arthur Rose Vincent, an Irish barrister who later became a Senator.

After Maude died from pneumonia in 1929, Arthur Rose Vincent decided to donate Muckross house to the Irish nation as a memorial to his wife. Muckross House was transferred to the state in 1932 with its 11,000 acre estate and became Ireland’s first National Park in 1933.

The park and gardens were opened to the public but the house remained closed until 1964 when it was reopened as a folk museum on June 14, 1964 following a campaign by people in Killarney.

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