On the 30th June 2021, Sligo County Council in partnership with the Sligo Neolithic Landscapes Group submitted an application to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage for The Passage Tomb Landscape of County Sligo to be placed on Ireland’s new Tentative List of World Heritage Properties.
Minister Noonan endorses recommendations for New World Heritage Tentative List and includes Sligo
Sligo County Council has today welcomed the endorsement by Minister Malcolm Noonan, of the findings of an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) appointed by the Minister to review the applications made to Ireland’s new Tentative List of World Heritage Properties.
The Expert Advisory Group (EAG) has now reviewed the applications received and has made their recommendations to Minister Noonan. In particular, the EAG were required to assess whether the applications submitted demonstrated Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) as well as stakeholder support.
In respect of The Passage Tomb Landscape of County Sligo application, the EAG found that the potential OUV of the application had been well illustrated in the application and recommends that the Passage Tombs of Sligo be placed on the Tentative List.
Paul Taylor, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, welcomed the announcement saying:
‘There is no doubt that Sligo’s Passage Tomb Landscape is an exceptional heritage asset for the county and that it is unparalleled in World terms. Sligo County Council welcomes the findings of the Expert Advisory Group and looks forward to working in partnership with landowners, local communities, key stakeholders, partners and the Department in progressing Sligo’s bid for World Heritage Status.’
Dónal Gilroy, Chair of Sligo Heritage Forum added:
‘Sligo’s Passage Tomb Landscape is unrivalled in terms of its heritage, landscape and community value. The announcement today is yet another step towards safeguarding a unique aspect of Sligo’s and indeed Ireland’s world class heritage. We recognise the importance of ongoing and meaningful consultation with all parties, particularly landowners. I commend the work of the Sligo Neolithic Landscape Group, who in partnership with Sligo County Council have started a process that will see the future sustainable management of these monuments, for the benefit of all’.
Martin Lydon, Chief Executive of Sligo County Council said:
‘We welcome and are encouraged by Minister Noonan’s endorsement of the Expert Advisory Groups recommendations for The Passage Tomb Landscape of County Sligo. Sligo County Council looks forward to meeting with the Department in due course to further progress the addition of The Passage Tomb Landscape of County Sligo to Ireland’s new Tentative List of World Heritage Properties.’
Dr Stefan Bergh, School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies, NUI Galway, and member of the Sligo Neolithic Landscape group, has said:
‘The passage tombs of County Sligo and their careful landscape settings are an extraordinary example of Neolithic architecture and ritual, with few if any international counterparts. They represent one of the greatest achievements of Sligo people and fully deserve UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition.’
For many years concerns have been raised over increased visitor pressure and the deteriorating condition of these sites. Many of these world class monuments are under threat and require long-term management and conservation for the benefit of all and future generations. Engagement, consultation and partnership will be important in building support for a shared vision of how these sites can be sustainably managed into the future.
If successful, the bid would continue to build a process of communication and cooperation between all stakeholders with a shared interest in the sustainable management and promotion of Sligo’s Passage Tomb Landscape.
If a site is successful in being placed on Ireland’s Tentative List for World Heritage Sites, there is considerable work and time involved in the preparation of nomination documentation, which would include a management plan and a public consultation process. This stage of the process, together with the public consultation, takes at least two years.
Thereafter the World Heritage Site inscription process takes about a year and a half from the submission of the complete nomination document and management plan to consideration by the World Heritage Committee.