I've just 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:
1. The Passage Tomb Landscape of County Sligo
2. Transatlantic Cable Ensemble: Valentia-Heart’s Content, County Kerry (a serial transnational nomination with Canada)
3. 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). 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.
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.