11/09/2013 – Minister Deenihan to host significant seminar on UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

  • UNESCO designations help to build Ireland’s reputation as heritage tourism destination
  • International panel of experts will be in attendance

Wednesday, September 11th – Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, will host a significant one-day seminar on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List tomorrow Thursday, September 12th, at Dublin Castle.

The one-day seminar, organised by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, will involve an international panel of experts presenting on a range of topics covering all aspects of the procedures involved in progressing a site from the tentative list to nomination for World Heritage Status with participation from representatives of local authorities and community groups.

There are currently three world heritage sites on the island of Ireland – the Giant’s Causeway in Co. Antrim, Brú na Boinne in Co. Meath and Skellig Michael, off the coast of Co. Kerry.

Speaking in advance, Minister Deenihan commented:

“The three existing world heritage sites on the island of Ireland are globally recognised and of international significance. The tentative list submitted to UNESCO in 2010 also includes a range of sites that would stand proudly alongside these or any world heritage site anywhere in the world.”

The tentative sites submitted are:

  • The Burren
  • The Céide Fields and North West Mayo Boglands
  • The Monastic City of Clonmacnoise and its Cultural Landscape
  • The Historic City of Dublin
  • Early Medieval Monastic Sites – Durrow, Clonmacnoise, Glendalough, Inis Cealtra, Kells and Monasterboice
  • The Western Stone Forts – 7 of which are on the Aran Islands, Cahercommaun, The Burren, Caherconree, Staigue, Benagh and the Dingle Peninsula
  • The Royal Sites of Ireland – Cashel, Dún Ailinne, the Hill of Uisneach, the Rathcroghan Complex, the Tara Complex and, hopefully, Navan Fort in Co. Armagh

Minister Deenihan commented:

“Anyone who has visited one or more of these locations will be in no doubt of the merits of the applications for UNESCO World Heritage Status. Progressing one or more of the tentative list sites to full world heritage status would be extremely beneficial to the protection and recognition of the site itself, whilst also benefitting the local community and Ireland as a whole. We must work together on this. A ‘bottom up’ approach is important, where local communities, supported by local authorities, work with my Department.   

“Our country has a growing reputation as a heritage tourism destination, with 3.4 million visitors enjoying culture and heritage whilst in Ireland. Of course, achieving world heritage status is not easy.  It is the highest recognition for any site. I am committed to a collaborative approach where the next applications for world heritage status are fully backed and endorsed by those who live and work in the area and by the local authorities and local representatives.”

The objective of the seminar is to equip all participants to organise and produce the detailed material needed by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to support the preparation and submission of substantive applications to UNESCO. The seminar has also benefitted from the involvement of ICOMOS Ireland, the Irish chapter of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a non-governmental international organisation dedicated to the conservation of the world’s monuments and sites.

Representatives from Armagh District Council will be attending the seminar and have expressed a strong interest in pursuing World Heritage status for Navan Fort, Armagh, as part of a cross border application.

Speakers at the seminar include:

  • Jimmy Deenihan, TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
  • Dré van Marrewijk, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands
  • Dr Christopher Young, Head of International Advice, English Heritage
  • Adrian Phillips, Member of the Tentative List Expert Advisory Group
  • Loreto Guinan, Heritage Officer, Meath County Council
  • Clare Tuffy, Heritage Centre Manager, Brú Na Bóinne
  • Grellan D. Rourke, Conservation Architect, OPW, ICOMOS International Executive

Media are invited to send a representative to this seminar, and are requested to contact the press office to be registered in advance as a media delegate. Register atpress.office@ahg.gov.ie or 01 6313848/01 6313838


Note to Editors:

  • Ireland ratified the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 1991. To date Ireland has had two properties inscribed on the World Heritage List:
    • The Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne – Brú na Bóinne (inscribed in 1993); and
    • Skellig Michael (inscribed in 1996).
  • The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht represents the State Party/Ireland and is the lead agency on World Heritage matters on behalf of Ireland. The Office of Public Works (OPW) is responsible for the day to day management and conservation of World Heritage properties.
  • There is one property in Northern Ireland which is inscribed on the World Heritage List – the Giant’s Causeway in Co. Antrim, inscribed in 1986.
  • Attending the seminar will be representatives of local authorities and community groups from the approximately 20 individual sites (drawn from the seven nominations and serial nominations) on the Tentative List.
  • A number of sites have been combined as serial nominations on the basis that this would provide them with the best chance of succeeding.
  • The latest statistics available from Fáilte Ireland show that in 2011 an estimated 3.4 million overseas visitors engaged in cultural and heritage activities while in Ireland, spending an estimated €2.7 billion during their stay.
  • Such activity, according to a report recently submitted to the Heritage Council, contributes to the 25,000 full-time equivalent jobs directly supported by Ireland’s historic environment.  


Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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