The seven sites on Ireland’s current Tentative List of World Heritage Sites are as follows: the Burren; the Céide Fields and North West Mayo Boglands; the Monastic City of Clonmacnoise; the Historic City of Dublin; Early Medieval Monastic sites; the Western Stone Forts; and the Royal Sites of Ireland. Three of these would be considered as serial nominations, as they comprise geographically distinct sites at different locations which have a thematic connection, including one site in Co. Armagh.
The current Tentative List has emanated from a very comprehensive process undertaken by a panel of Irish and international heritage experts specifically appointed for that purpose. It included full public consultation and an in-depth review of all proposed candidate sites.
Once the sites were selected for inclusion on the Tentative List, my Department engaged with local authorities and local groups from the areas concerned to gauge the extent of the support available to advance the proposals and to clarify the work and resources required for that purpose. The fundamental requirement is that each site must be capable of demonstrating Outstanding Universal Value to UNESCO but it is also crucial that there is sufficient local stakeholder interest to support any potential UNESCO World Heritage status bid. Local support is also key to ensuring the long-term protection of the sites.
UNESCO advises States Parties to re-examine and re-submit their Tentative Lists at least every ten years. This process allows the State Party, in this case my Department, to identify potential additional World Heritage Sites and to assess the robustness of the current List. My Department is currently in the process of managing the ten-year review of Ireland’s Tentative List. In this respect, the local authorities associated with each site on the current Tentative List have been invited to review the readiness of their communities and sites to proceed to World Heritage nomination. My Department is tasked with deciding whether or not sites are likely to meet the criteria for World Heritage nomination. It will do so at the end of the review period in June 2020, and with the benefit of additional information provided by the relevant local authorities in the meantime.