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18 Aug 2022

Passage Tomb Landscape of Sligo and Rathcroghan, Co Roscommon have been nominated by government for world heritage status

LATEST: Ancient site in Kildare has been nominated by government for world heritage status

Rathcroghan Picture: from Rathcroghan.ie

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State with Responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD have announced that a new Tentative List of sites for nomination for World Heritage Status has been drawn up for Ireland.

The Tentative List is an inventory of natural and cultural heritage sites that may have potential to demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value and Sligo's Passage Tomb Landscape and Roscommon's Rathcroghan site have been included on the 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 inclusion 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 Navan Fort, County Armagh). 

Next steps

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.

World Heritage Properties are sites of cultural and/or natural heritage designated by UNESCO to be of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) to humanity. Ireland has currently two properties on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Brú na Bóinne and Sceilg Mhichíl, both inscribed in the 1990s.

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