Major celebrations will take place in Valentia Island, Co Kerry today to mark the 160th anniversary of the first cable message sent across the Atlantic.

Queen Victoria sent the message to the president of the United States, James Buchanan, stating that the new technology would provide closer ties between the two nations.

The message read: “The Queen is convinced that the President will join with her in fervently hoping that the electric cable, which now connects Great Britain with the United States, will prove an additional link between the two places whose friendship is founded upon their common interests and reciprocal esteem.

To coincide with the occasion, the historic cable station building will be handed over by the current owner, Ranka Pollmeier, to the people of Kerry. It will be accepted on their behalf by the Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Norma Foley.

She thanked Mrs Pollmeier for her long-standing commitment to the island and for the generous gift “which will enable future opportunities for the people of Valentia and attract many more visitors to this very historic place”.

It is expected that plans will also be announced for the transformation of the cable station into a major heritage/interpretive site aimed at attracting more tourists to the region.

The Valentia Transatlantic Cable Foundation is currently pursuing a transnational application for Unesco heritage status for both their site and the one created in Canada to take the Queen Victoria cable.

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