Valentia Island2
Valentia Island2

Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station Opens

The Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station which was closed for 56 years has reopened to the public as a new visitor center and to top it all, the famous location, one of Ireland's most westerly points, has been added to the UNESCO tentative list, with the possibility of it becoming another one of the world’s notable heritage sites.

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Over 150 years ago, a transatlantic telegraph cable was laid between the County Kerry location and Heart's Content, Newfoundland, which essentially connected the old world with the new.

a large plaque near the ocean Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station
The Telegraph Field sign on Valentia Island, with the Skelligs in the distance. Photo: John Flanagan, Wikimedia Commons.

The team at the cable station submitted the application along with their Canadian counterparts, where the western end of the cable can be found.

This is the first step in the process and if the application is successful, the Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station will become one of three UNESCO sites in Ireland, the other two being Skellig Michael and Brú na Bóinne.

Several other sites in Ireland have also submitted UNESCO applications.

a castle on a hill Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station
The Rock of Cashel in Co. Tipperary is a favorite destination for tourists to Ireland and possibly a future UNESCO Heritage Site. Photo: Nick Fox.

They include The Passage Tomb Landscape in County Sligo along with the ancient royal sites of Dún Ailinne, County Kildare; the Hill of Uisneach, County Westmeath; the Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary; Rathcroghan, County Roscommon, and Tara in County Meath.

The new visitor center retells the notable transatlantic cable story, which became known as the eighth wonder of the world.

The new tourist attraction has also been aptly named The Eighth Wonder.

The immersive museum reveals the incredible story of how in 1886 3,000 kilometers of cable were successfully laid underneath the ocean, enhancing communication times between Europe and North America, which would have normally taken weeks.

With the new cable, people were able to communicate with each other in minutes, a tremendous achievement for its time.

The Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Other Things to See and Do on Valentia Island

The Valentia Island Lighthouse is the most westerly harbor light off the island of Ireland.

an aerial view of a lighthouse Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station
An aerial view of Valentia Island Lighthouse not far from the Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station. Photo: MN Studio.

It was built in 1837 inside a Cromwellian fort that was constructed in 1653 to defend the entrance to Valentia Harbor.

Visitors can take a tour of the lighthouse which is 15 meters tall (close to 50 feet), as well as the lightkeeper’s dwelling house, erected in 1910.

The house is now fully restored as a museum and the former kitchen serves as a tearoom.

The lighthouse is still fully functioning and a walk to the top gives visitors an incredible view of the Atlantic.

Tickets for the lighthouse experience are €7.50 for adults (12 and up), €6.50 for students and seniors (60+), €4 for children up to 11 years, and €20 for a family of 5.

Read More: 6 of Ireland's Coolest Lighthouses to Visit in 2024
The Glanleam Standing Stone dates to the Bronze Age. Photo: Jill/Blue Moonbeam Studio,

A short distance from the lighthouse is the Glanleam Standing Stone dating to the Bronze Age.

Even older than the standing stone is the Valentia Island Trackway, evidence of a fossilized tetrapod footprint believed to have been made 385 million years ago.

The primitive vertebrate apparently dragged itself from the nearby ocean leaving tracks of its lizard-like trail behind.

Visitors looking for a unique place to stay should consider Glanleam House, a former linen mill built in 1790, with its own protected beach.
Glanleam House on Valentia. Photo: By Kmcnamee – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The accommodation is now run as a guesthouse by the family that has owned it for 250 years.

Glanleam Houses’ sub-tropical gardens contain a variety of vegetation from the Southern Hemisphere planted in the 1830s by Sir Peter George Fitzgerald, the 19th Knight of Kerry.

Visitors can get to Valentia Island from mainland Kerry by a bridge at Portmagee or by ferry at Renard Point, Cahirsiveen.

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