New Visitor Experience on Valentia Island to Celebrate Transatlantic Cable

A new interactive visitor experience tells the role of Valentia Island in the first submarine transatlantic telegraph cable.

Valentia Ireland in Co Kerry will be home to a new transatlantic cable visitor experience opening tomorrow (July 21). It’s called The Eighth Wonder and will open prior to the sixth Valentia lecture.

Valentia was the site for one end of the first submarine transatlantic telegraph cable connecting Ireland to North America.

The 3000km cable was revolutionary in 1858 when it was installed, reducing communication time between the two sites from weeks to just minutes. The first message sent was a congratulatory letter from Queen Victoria to US President James Buchanan.

Although this historic development failed after three weeks, a new cable was successfully laid in 1866 connecting Valentia to the town of Heart’s Content in Newfoundland, Canada.

Now tourists and locals alike can visit the Valentia Island cable station and the new interactive visitor experience. The Eight Wonder tells of the historical developments, considered the 19th century equivalent of placing a person on the moon.

It received support from Fáilte Ireland under the New Horizons on the Wild Atlantic Way Grants Scheme 2018.

Following the opening of the visitor experience, the sixth Valentia Lecture will take place on Friday (July 22). The annual event, on the theme of globalization, takes place at the Valentia cable station. It will also be recorded and made available online later in the month.

Claire Cronin, US Ambassador to Ireland, and author and presenter Eddie Hobbs will speak on the topic of globalization. There will also be a panel discussion on the topic of regional development in a world of remote work.

Nancy Smyth, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, is joined by June O’Connell from Skellig Distillery, Garry Connolly from Host in Ireland and Councilor Norma Moriarty.

In the evening there is an online ‘link-up’ with Heart’s Content. It will include a greeting from the ambassadors of each country and a fireside conversation where young staff from both sides of the Atlantic will share their thoughts on the future of global citizens, along with a musical exchange.

The talk will be followed by a gala dinner with speeches from Education Minister Norma Foley, TD, and Shay Walsh, Director of BT Ireland, which is a sponsor of the Valentia Transatlantic Cable Foundation.

During last year’s Valentia talk, CNN journalist and Kerry-born Donie O’Sullivan, as well as Máiread McGuinness, Máiread McGuinness, addressed the audience. Silicon Republic CEO Ann O’Dea addressed the event in 2020.

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