Brownshill Dolmen, Carlow
A Carlow TD has asked questions about sites in Carlow applying to get on the UNESCO World Heritage List - which is now open for applications.
Fine Gael's Pat Deering asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, for the details of the new call for applications for sites of built and natural heritage here to be placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
He also asked for the the way in which persons and organisations including those in counties Carlow and Kilkenny can apply for new candidate sites to join Ireland's World Heritage Tentative List.
A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as having special cultural or physical significance.
In a written response, the Minister said: "On January 25 2019, I opened the call for applications for new sites to join the World Heritage Tentative List.
"My Department, as State Party to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, is committed to ensuring proper identification, protection, conservation and presentation of cultural and natural heritage sites that possess outstanding universal value, a fundamental requirement for World Heritage inscription.
"My Department acts as Focal Point for World Heritage issues in Ireland and liaises with UNESCO in relation to all related matters and in particular with regard to our two existing World Heritage Sites, Brú na Bóinne and Sceilg Mhichíl.
"I am now seeking to identify further sites that may ultimately prove to be suitable for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list as part of a periodic review of the Tentative List of potential candidate sites.
"This is the first step in the inscription process. I greatly welcome the opportunity it presents to bring forward and promote additional Irish sites that are of international significance and I look forward to my Department’s engagement with local authorities and other interested parties, including those in Carlow and Kilkenny.
"Candidate sites for Ireland's new World Heritage Tentative List will be subject to appraisal by my Department and a board of external assessors before the Tentative List is submitted to UNESCO in 2020.
"My Department will work with stakeholders to progress the readiness of sites for World Heritage status by providing guidance and advice in relation to what is required by the nomination process, including the need for appropriate conservation measures and controls and management plans."
She added: "My Department’s policy is that the process of identifying any new site should begin at local level by interested parties in close collaboration with the relevant local authority.
"My Department will be seeking details of each site, including summary information about why applicants consider it to be of Outstanding Universal Value, and any information currently available about management controls and legal protections already in place or propsed.
"My Department will also be assessing the level of likely community engagement and support for any eventual World Heritage nomination.
"Of course, of itself, this process also affords a great opportunity to communities to enrich their knowledge of the historical and archaeological treasures that exist in their local area.
"This is indeed a very exciting time for World Heritage in Ireland. The opportunity to make an application to my Department to go on the new World Heritage Tentative List remains open until June 2020.
"Further information is available on the www.worldheritageireland.ie website and I would encourage all potential applicants to engage with their local authority, which will seek any necessary advice or guidance from my Department, at the earliest possible stage.
"Apart from, World Heritage, a number of key built heritage sites in Counties Carlowand Kilkenny are benefiting from funding schemes provided by my Department through the local authorities.
"In 2018, heritage sites in both counties Carlow and Kilkenny were successful grant recipients.
"In Carlow, these included St. Johns Church, Cloydagh, Milford; Borris House itself and its Apple House Walled Garden; Ballydarton House, Fenagh; and Farrar's Tower House, Dunroe."