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Unesco World Heritage Application

A World Heritage Site is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being of special cultural or physical significance.

Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration – UNESCO

As part of the preparation for the application to UNESCO, the Valentia Island Development Company initially commissioned two research papers by an international UNESCO expert, Professor Alexander Gillespie from the University of Waikato in New Zealand in which he assessed the viability of the Valentia ensemble of related transatlantic cable sites to be considered for industrial world heritage status.

The significance of what happened on Valentia Island, as evidenced by its associated and remaining features, gives it a strong chance of becoming a World Heritage site due to its Outstanding Universal Value.  As a UNESCO site, the island has the capacity to attract thousands of national and global visitors each year and its rich contributions to Industrial world heritage will be preserved and celebrated for future generations – Prof. Alexander Gillespie

Project highlights to dateCable Station Cover Photo | Valentia Transatlantic Cable Foundation

Valentia Cable World Heritage

May 31

The Gathering

The Gathering | Valentia Transatlantic Cable Foundation

Valentia Island hosted an event as part of ‘The Gathering, Ireland 2013’ to share the idea of the UNESCO World Heritage Site for the Transatlantic Cable sites on the island.

September 30

Feasibility Paper Funded

Funding is secured to complete the Valentia Island, Ireland UNESCO World Heritage Feasibility Report.

May 27

Feasibility Paper 1 Published

American Irish Historical Society | Valentia Cable
  • The Trans-Atlantic Cable as World Heritage Paper 1: Authenticity, Integrity and Associated Considerations for the Ensemble of Sites at Valentia Island, County Kerry, Ireland is completed.
  • The feasibility report was presented at the American Irish Historical Society on May 27 in New York.
March 16

Paper 2 Funded

  • Funding secured from Intel Ireland to complete Paper 2, in order to assess further the possibility of UNESCO World Heritage status.
  • Valentia Island World Heritage is included in the County Kerry Economic Development Plan and coordinated with the 150th Cable Anniversary celebration plans in NY and DC USA, London UK, Valentia Island Ireland, and Hearts Content Canada.
July 14

150th Anniversary

150th Anniversary | Valentia Transatlantic Cable Foundation
  • Paper 2 is completed, demonstrating that the Trans-Atlantic cable is of Outstanding Universal Value.
  • The 150th Anniversary celebrations welcome representatives from the US and Canadian embassies, the Irish government and industry leaders to Valentia. The events are reported on national television and radio.
  • The Valentia Transatlantic Cable Foundation Board is established.
December 31

Skellig Coast & the Cable Story

  • Cable project is included in Kerry County Council Tourism Strategy and Action Plan 2016 – 2022.
  • Cable Building Restoration begins.
January 25

Skellig Coast Visitor Experience Development Plan Launched

Fáilte Ireland National Tourism Development Agency | Valentia Cable Foundation Board

The Transatlantic Cable is included as a major project on Fáilte Ireland’s Skellig Coast Visitor Experience Development Plan, which will involve the creation of an interactive experience relating the Cable story in Valentia.

April 4

valentiacable.com launched

July 14

Inaugural Valentia Lecture Series

Inaugural Valentia Lecture Series

The inaugural Valentia Island Lecture is held in the Cable Station chaired by IDA CEO Martin Shanahan and keynote speaker Professor Jeffrey Garten from Yale (both pictured above) addressing a large audience on the topic of globalisation. The IDA and BT Ireland are premium sponsors.

“the notion to me that this wouldn’t be a UNESCO site is absurd” – Professor Garten

Videos and photos of the lecture series and gala can be found at https://valentiacable.com/events

December 20

Canada updates World Heritage Tentative List


Heart’s Content Cable Station, Newfoundland was formally recognised as a Canadian national treasure, and included with seven other locations in that country’s updated list of Tentative World Heritage sites. It proposes a transnational application with Valentia sites.

December 31

Cable Station Renovations & Charity Status Established

  • Further government money is secured for containment actions on the Cable Building in Knightstown.
  • The Foundation is established as a Company Limited by Guarantee and achieves charitable status by year end.
  • A tender is launched to develop the Valentia Cable Station Heritage Centre Business Plan.
  • Good progress is made in securing ownership of the Cable Station.
February 17

President’s visit to the Cable Station

Transcript for speech of President Michael D. Higgins

President Michael D. Higgins visited the Cable Station and spoke about the history of the building and the project to gain UNESCO recognition for the cable sites. You can watch his speech and the event at https://youtu.be/TTHnu08xypQ

February 20

Minister Brendan Griffin visits Heart’s Content

Minister Brendan Griffin visits Heart’s Content

Minister of State for Tourism, Brendan Griffin, on his visit to the Cable Station at Hearts Content in Newfoundland, Feb 20th 2018.

April 10

Investing in Our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 – 2027

Investing in our Culture, Heritage and Language

Minister Josepha Madigan TD presents “Investing in Our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 – 2027” – a ten year plan setting out the Government’s commitment for capital investment of almost €1.2 billion in Ireland’s culture, language and heritage.

Valentia Island Cable Station is announced as a priority project of the €285 Heritage Programme to maintain and protect heritage assets.

July 13

Valentia Cable Station handed to the people of Valentia

Valentia Cable Station handed to the people of Valentia

A major milestone in the project was completed on July 13th, when the historic Cable Station building, was handed over by the current owner, Mrs Ranka Pollmeier, and was accepted on behalf of the people of Valentia by the new Mayor of Kerry, Ms Norma Foley. In welcoming the handover of the building, Mayor Foley “thank Mrs Pollmeier for her long standing commitment to the island and for this generous gift which will enable future opportunities for the people of Valentia and attract many more visitors to this very historic place”

July 13

Valentia Lecture Series 2018

Valentia Lecture Series 2018

July 13th 2018 saw the 3rd annual Valentia Lecture and Gala with speakers: Ms Irina Bokova former Director-General of UNESCO (2009-2017); Professor Genevieve Bell Vice President for Strategy at Intel and a distinguished Professor at the Australian National University; Dr Robert Mauro, Director of the Global Leadership Institute at Boston College; and Professor Chris Morash, Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing and Vice Provost at TCD.

July 27

Telegraph Reconnection

Celebrating the 1866 Newfoundland to Valentia inaugural Trans-Atlantic telegraph message with IET Ireland and Kerry Radio Club @ The Cable Station, Knightstown from 2pm – more details available at https://valentiacable.com/events/reconnecting-valentia-hearts-content-2018/

October 19

Fáilte Ireland awards ‘The Transatlantic Cable Story’ EUR161k

Fáilte Ireland awards ‘The Transatlantic Cable Story’ EUR161k

In October, the Minister for Sports and Tourism, Mr. Brendan Griffin announced a grant of €161K for the Cable Station from Fáilte Ireland under The Wild Atlantic Way 2018 Grants Scheme in the presence of the Kerry County Manager Moira Murrell, the Newfoundland Minister for Tourism, Culture and Industry, Mr Christopher Mitchelmore and John Griffin, Tourism Officer for Kerry.

November 23

Rural Regeneration Grant Funding EUR1.37m granted to KCC

Rural Regeneration Grant Funding EUR1.37m granted to KCC

Our colleagues in Kerry County Council made a major submission to the 2018 call of the Department of Rural and Community Development’s €1bn ‘Rural Regeneration and Development Plan’ , 2019-2027, which proposed a mixed use at the Cable station, combining a heritage centre on the ground floor and innovation hub on the upper floor. We were delighted to learn of our success in being selected as the one the only project in Kerry and have been allocated €1.37m for the Cable station.

February 15

Fundraising Brochure Launched

Fundraising Brochure Launched
April 13

Digital Hub Workshop

Digital Hub Workshop

We facilitated a first workshop in the Cable Station on Saturday April 13th 2019 to start the process of defining the theme and scope for the Hub element of the project. Speakers included representatives from the Dingle Hub, the Sneem Hub and the Ludgate Hub from Skibbereen along with local business owners and representatives from Academia at IT Tralee and Trinity College. Enterprise Ireland were also represented.

July 1

Paschal Donoghue

Paschal Donoghue

July 2019, Mr Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure delivers a key note at the annual Valentia Lecture 

December 10

2020 Milestones

  • Formal application submitted for consideration to the Irish Tentative List for potential future nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List
  • The initial visitors centre and museum is opened at the Cable Station
  • Work begins on restoring the Cable Station
  • Plans are defined for the Innovation Hub at the Cable Station
October 4

National Development Plan

National Development Plan

October 2021, The project was also endorsed in the National Development Plan published

October 11

Mairead McGuinness

Mairead McGuinness

Oct 2021, Ms. Mairead McGuinness, European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union addresses the Valentia Lecture

October 18

Mary Rose Stafford

Mary Rose Stafford

October 2021,  Mary Rose Stafford from the Foundation with Michael Lyne, chairperson of the Valentia Development Company launch the “8th Wonder” exhibit at the Cable Station.

July 21

Darragh O’Brien

On July 21st 2022, we warmly welcomed the announcement from the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD of the inclusion of the Transatlantic Cable Project on the Irish UNESCO World Heritage tentative list. This was only one of three projects accepted onto the Irish list which is a pre-cursor to a formal submission to UNESCO in Paris.

July 22

The 6th Valentia Lecture

The 6th Valentia Lecture

July 22nd 2022, the 6th Valentia Lecture returned with a full audience to the historic Cable Station. We were joined by both the US Ambassador to Ireland,  H.E. Claire Cronin and the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Nancy Smyth

September 5

Minister Crocker from Newfoundland

Minister Crocker from Newfoundland

September 2022, Minister Crocker from Newfoundland visited the Cable Station at Valentia where he signed an MOU with Kerry County Council to “ create a framework for cooperation and coordination between the two governments concerning the UNESCO World Heritage nomination for the Transatlantic Cable Ensemble

July 10

The 7th Valentia Lecture

July 2023. The 7th Valentia Lecture addresses the theme ‘A vision for Ireland and its role in the digital world’ with contributions from Mr Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Dr Nicola Millard, Principal Innovation Partner at BT, Entrepreneur Mr Norman Crowley of CoolPlanet, and cable security expert, Dr Camino Kavanagh.

August 14

Trip to Hearts Content in Newfoundland

Trip to Hearts Content in Newfoundland

In August 2023 a delegation of the key stakeholders of the Valentia end of the Transnational UNESCO project visited  Hearts Content in Newfoundland, home to the landing site of the Canadian end of the Transatlantic Cable. The delegation was led by the newly appointed Mayor of Kerry, Mr Jim Finucane, along with officials from Kerry County Council and the Department of Heritage. Also in the party was a representative group from Valentia and the Cable Foundation.


The delegation received a warm reception from their counterparts in Newfoundland including the Minister responsible for Heritage, his officials, representative from Parks Canada,  and the local community at Hearts Content. Hopes for the future were shared, new friendships were forged and actions agreed to move forward on the joint UNESCO application.


Leonard Hobbs, chair of the Foundation, at the site of the 1866 cable on the shores of Hearts Content, Newfoundland


Valentia Cable World Heritage


2024 Milestones

  • Restoration work begins at the Cable Station
  • Delegation from Hearts Content visits Valentia
  • A preliminary assessment is submitted to UNESCO by September deadline
  • Project coordinators are appointed at Valentia and Hearts Content, along with Transnational expert

2025 Milestones

  • Restoration work and Digital Hub fit out is completed at the Cable Station
  • Focus shifts to the other relevant sites in the ensemble, including the Slate Yard
  • Results of the preliminary assessment is received from UNESCO

2026 Milestones

  • Draft nomination dossier is submitted to UNESCO by September deadline
  • The Digital Hub opens and is 50% utilised
  • Work begins to restore the First Message Building and Slate Yard

2027 Milestones

  • Final nomination dossier is submitted to UNESCO in February
  • Technical evaluation mission
  • The Slate Yard complex restoration is completed
  • The Digital Hub is 90% occupied

2028 Milestones

  • Results of evaluation by advisory bodies
  • Decision of the World Heritage Committee
  • The Slate Yard and First Message building joins the Cable Station as active community and visitor entities.