By Sean O’Riordan
Cork County Council has been told to prepare plans to get a number of harbour forts, Martello towers, and what was once the largest gunpowder factory in the world added to Unesco’s world heritage status list.
The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has informed the council that the National Monuments Service is currently planning to create a new list of nominations for Unesco.
The current Unesco heritage list contains 1,037 sites in 167 countries, but only two in Ireland — Brú na Bóinne and Skellig Michael.
The department has told the council to present its sites, predominantly around Cork harbour, in a ‘serial nomination’.
The news was welcomed by Cllr Marcia D’Alton, who last May proposed that the historic military installations in the harbour should be protected by the Unesco designation.
Military historians claim that Cork has some of the finest historic harbour defences of anywhere in the world.
Ms D’Alton has proposed that the Napoleonic-era sites and fortifications stretching from Cork Harbour to Ballincollig be considered for inclusion on the Unesco list.
These sites include Spike Island (Fort Westmoreland/Mitchell); Fort Camden/Meagher; Fort Carlisle/Davis; Ringaskiddy Martello Tower; Haulbowline Island Martello Tower; Haulbowline Island naval buildings; the Belvelly, Rossleague, and Monning Martello towers; Collins Barracks, and the Ballincollig Royal Gunpowder Mills.
Cllr Gillian Coughlan has asked Ms D’Alton to add the Fastnet lighthouse to the proposed list.
“I am delighted with the positive response from the department. They intend to re-open the process by which nominations of sites of outstanding universal value can be made.
“Their positivity to receiving our application is hugely encouraging,” said Ms D’Alton.