Efforts are being stepped up to secure World Heritage status for the ancient Navan Fort in Armagh – essentially putting it on a par with Sydney Opera House, the Pyramids, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Taj Mahal!
A bid to secure Navan Fort on the Royal Sites of Ireland’s place on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage status is currently underway. There is currently only one World Heritage site in Northern Ireland and that is the Giant’s Causeway.
The Royal Sites of Ireland are a group of six unique collectives of largely prehistoric monuments and sites associated in early medieval including the Navan Fort.
A dedicated website – www.royalsites.ie – has been launched with information about the Tentative List application.
People are being asked to feed into the process by taking a short online survey.
Lord Mayor Kevin Savage, said: “Navan Fort, also known as Emain Macha, is one of Ireland’s most famous and important archaeological sites. It is viewed as the ancient capital of Ulster, home of the Red Branch Knights and the seat of the High Kings of Ulster.
“We want to continue highlighting Navan’s ancient history and the significant part it plays as one of the Royal Sites in Ireland.
“We are encouraging local communities and anyone interested in the process to have their say by completing the online survey by the end of May.
“Re-securing a place on the Tentative List is the first step in the process of consideration for nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
Spread throughout the island, four of the sites represent the ancient Kingdoms of Ireland and its current provinces of North (Navan Fort – Emain Macha), South (Rock of Cashel), East (Dún Ailline) and West (Rathcroghan). Tara was the seat of the High Kings of Ireland situated in the ancient ‘fifth’ province of Meath while the Hill of Uisneach the ‘omphalos’ or centre was where the five kingdoms met.
The respective local authorities of Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, Roscommon and Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, with Tipperary as lead authority, have been working together during the lifetime of the last World Heritage Tentative List to develop the Royal Sites of Ireland case for ‘outstanding universal value’, the key attribute for world heritage sites.
As the current list is up for renewal, the Royal Sites of Ireland has to reapply to remain on the Tentative List and progress further.
To engage with local communities during this challenging time of Covid-19, the website www.royalsites.ie has been launched, to provide updates and encourage people to give their views and participate in the process.