Valentia Heritage Centre
    Ionad Oidhreachta Dairbhre
  Knightstown, Valentia Island, Co. Kerry, Ireland
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Valentia Heritage Centre News

The Centre will soon be open for the 2009 season.

In 2008 the BBC programme, 'Coast', brought many visitors from all over the world as Valentia Island and the Skelligs were featured. The visiting public expressed amazement at the extensive history of the Island as depicted in the photographs and artefacts donated by the Islanders and others to the Centre.

March 2008 saw the grounds around the Centre cleared of weeds and grass laid for lawns. Our thanks go to the Rural Social Scheme of Ireland, who at no cost to us, enabled this to take place. They continued throughout the season, together with the young men of Tigh an Oileain, to maintain the grounds which look very attractive.

The Heritage Centre entered Kerry Community Awards Scheme, a competition sponsored by the Kerryman Newspaper. We proposed an American Newspaper for restoration. This paper was issued in New York on 15th August 1858 when the first Transatlantic Cable message was received. The paper was generously donated by the late Mrs Judith Malcolm of Canada and Valentia. We were successful in winning €1,000 towards its restoration and the paper is now in our possession after undergoing excellent work by Paul Curtis of Mudcross House, Killarney.

This also led, in June, to Valentia being entered in the Cross Border All-Ireland Competition for Pride of Place. Valentia Island subsequently won first place in its Island category, winning €2,000 which was donated to the Valentia Hospital. We were also given a beautiful Waterford Bowl, which we have retained, to display safely in a yet to be chosen site on the premises

On the 15th August, the 150th anniversary of the first Transatlantic Message, John ('Donoghue, Ceann Comhairle, launched a commemorative stamp in the VIHC. A large picture of the stamp, a sheet of stamps and lit day covers were donated to the Centre by An Post. This function was well attended by the Islanders and past members of the Cable Staff. As was aptly stated on that day, "in 1858, this was the beginning of global communication as we know It". At that time In history, it could be likened to Man going to the moon

Heritage Weekend In August was celebrated threefold.
First, on the evening Friday August 27th, the late Mrs Nellie O'Cleirigh gave a very interesting talk on the social effects of the Transatlantic Cable on Island life. On Saturday 28th, there was a walk on the bog looking at flora and fauna.
The Open Day at the Centre was on Sunday and amongst other exhibits, Nellie O'Cleirigh spent the whole day displaying her magnificent collection of handmade Irish lace. She talked tirelessly to visitors about the extraordinary history of lace in Ireland. Her generous time and extreme efforts were greatly appreciated by everyone. We were shocked and saddened to hear that Nellie died in October. She has been one of our greatest friends and a supportive member of VIHC. She always visited the Centre when she came to Valentia and was a mine of information on every aspect of the Isla d's history. Our visitors have found her publication, 'Valentia. A Different Irish Island' both ormative.
She will be greatly missed and may she Rest in Peace.

Over 2,700 visitors were welcomed during the 2007 season, and many encouraging comments were made.

New displays for 2007 included a copy of maps of each Valentia town land, with family names dating back to 1841. Donated by the Knight of Kerry, Adrian Fitzgerald, this is displayed at the Centre in a hand-crafted wooden case.

Mr Frank Cullen loaned for display some of his portraits of local characters from the Island.

The Committee offers its sincere thanks to all who have donated artifacts and memorabilia to the Centre, and welcomes the active participation of anyone who would like to get involved. The Annual General Meeting will be held at the Royal Hotel on February 27th, at 8pm.

September 2nd, 2007. Heritage week in Ireland has just concluded. On Friday the Heritage Centre presented a guest speech on the Skelligs in St. John's Church of Ireland, which was attended by about thirty people.

On Saturday we had a guided walk in the bog near St. Brendan's Well, with a look at the flora and fauna, and about twenty attended.

On Sunday the Centre had an open day and received 124 visitors. The ladies of the Centre baked, and tea and coffee were served free from 10.30 to 5. On view were: a book of 1851 maps presented by the Knight of Kerry; a selection of hand-painted pictures of deceased Valentia people kindly given by a Dublin man with a holiday home on Valentia; and a beautiful picture of the signatures of the cable agreement on loan for the day from a Canadian lady with a holiday home on Valentia.

Summer 2007. The Centre had a face lift, thanks to the work of many volunteers and local craftsmen. Inside the building, new window blinds have been installed to protect the displays from the sun, and the Reception area has been reorganized. Outside, the building has been painted, window frames have been varnished, a new sign is in place, new paths of local slate have been laid, and flower boxes have been mounted on the walls.

A view of the front of the Centre, showing the
fresh paint, flower boxes, and new local slate path

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Webmaster: Bill Burns @ Last site update: 14 December, 2019