Valentia Island a candidate for World Heritage status

Valentia Island has strong merit for consideration as a World Heritage Site, according to Al Gillespie from the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

Prof Gillespie will be attending the launch of The Transatlantic Communications & Light Gathering on the Co Kerry island this weekend.

“Many people in Ireland know that the place where the Atlantic cable linked the New World to Europe was at Valentia, but what many people in Ireland do not know is that the Valentia site has strong merit for being considered a World Heritage Site,” he said.

“This is not an easy assertion to make.”

Prof Gillespie is the first New Zealander to be named rapporteur for the World Heritage Convention, a position involving international environmental diplomacy. He is also the legal and policy advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Department of Conservation and provides commissioned work for the UN.

The main criteria for outstanding cultural heritage include that the proposed piece represents a masterpiece of human creative genius; exhibits an important interchange of human values; or is an outstanding example of a landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history.

Cyrus W Field started world communications when he orchestrated the crossing of the Atlantic.

“Such telecom-munication is the core of the modern world, but this modern world which we all take for granted, started in one small location, on the south west coast of Ireland,” said Prof Gillespie.

“Thus, due to perfect geographical placement, Valentia had the honour to be the ground zero where three criteria for World Heritage were crossed at the same time. These were being a masterpiece of human creative genius; a key development in technology, and an outstanding example of a technological ensemble which illustrates a significant stage in human history.”

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