Ministers announce new World Heritage Tentative List for Ireland
Posted on 23 August 2022
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD, and Minister of State with Responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcom Noonan TD have announced a new World Heritage Tentative List for Ireland.
The Tentative List is an inventory of natural and cultural heritage sites that may have potential to demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value and therefore considered suitable for nomination to the World Heritage List. It is a pre-condition for nomination that a site must be on the Tentative List for at least one year before work can formally begin on a nomination dossier. It is important to note that the nomination process does not necessarily result in the inscription of a site on the World Heritage List. A site can be inscribed on the World Heritage List only if the World Heritage Committee determines it is of Outstanding Universal Value for all of humanity.
In line with UNESCO guidance, in January 2019 the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage sought applications to a new Tentative List for Ireland, to replace the current list dating to 2010. All Local Authorities were requested to make applications to the Department with respect to any sites within their jurisdiction.
Six applications were received by the June 2021 deadline and the exhaustive and expert evaluation process over the last eleven months has concluded that three applications should be included on the new Tentative List for Ireland with details being sent to UNESCO Paris. They are:
- The Passage Tomb Landscape of County Sligo
- Transatlantic Cable Ensemble: Valentia-Heart’s Content, County Kerry (a serial transnational nomination with Canada)
- Royal Sites of Ireland: Dún Ailinne County Kildare; Hill of Uisneach, County Westmeath; Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary; Rathcroghan County Roscommon and Tara County Meath; (potential for a serial transboundary nomination to include Emain Macha/Navan Fort, County Armagh)
On the composition of the new Tentative List, The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD said:
I pay tribute to all applicants and to our own National Monuments Service and the experts who have assisted us over the last year. This has been an exhaustive process over many months of evaluation that UNESCO ambition demands. I commend all applicants for that ambition. To the three applicants, which have met the necessary criteria, know we will support you as best we can to match the local drive for full World Heritage nomination in the years ahead. It will be a challenging road, but one you have shown you are willing to travel and we will journey it with you.
Minister O’Brien added:
To those applicants whose sites have been determined as not yet meeting the necessary OUV threshold, know that we will continue in our support to you, to meet your passion for your heritage.
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD said:
We are very grateful to the panels who have guided us so expertly and thoroughly through this exhaustive process. The result of that painstaking evaluation is a credible and history-making series of sites with World Heritage ambition. We will work with the applicants in years ahead in building the necessary nomination documentation and establishing the management structures to ensure they can take their place in the pantheon of globally important World Heritage Properties.
On the composition of the new Tentative List, Minister of State Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works Patrick O’Donovan TD said:
Ireland’s two existing World Heritage Properties managed by the OPW, Brú na Bóinne and Sceilg Mhichíl hold pride of place in Ireland’s heritage estate. I congratulate those who today are starting on the challenging journey to World Heritage nomination. We in OPW who care for many of the component elements of these applications, will work alongside you and the Department throughout, to bring our expertise to the nomination process and the future management of what we hope will be additional World Heritage Properties in the years to come.
A further application on behalf of The Cultural Landscape of the Burren Uplands in County Clare and County Galway offers significant potential to be a future World Heritage property, after further work by the applicants in defining the Outstanding Universal Value of the landscape in line with UNESCO requirements. The Department is committed to supporting Clare and Galway County Councils to develop this application further and looks forward to receiving a revised joint application to the Tentative List.
Once submitted to UNESCO, this new Tentative List will replace the existing 2010 Tentative List. The Department intends to revise the Tentative List on a more regular basis in future to increase opportunities for World Heritage status in Ireland.
The Department will now, with OPW, focus on supporting the three sets of sites on the new Tentative List to develop their nomination bids for submission to the World Heritage Centre in Paris. We will also maintain support for those applications that require further work.
The Department will shortly publish for public consultation a draft World Heritage Strategy for Ireland that will provide a framework for World Heritage management in Ireland and the inscription of additional properties to Ireland’s World Heritage List over the next decade.