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Shortlist for world heritage status is drawn up

GEORGIAN Dublin and the Tara complex are among a list of potential world heritage sites being prepared by Environment Minister John Gormley.

Today, a list of potential nominees to the World Heritage List will be published, which also asks UNESCO to consider protecting the Burren and Ceide Fields and north Mayo boglands.

But there's bad news for Killarney National Park and the bogs of Clara, Co Offaly, which have been dropped from the list.

Instead, an expert group wants to honour Georgian Dublin and the capital's literary heritage, which has seen Dubliners George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett garner two Nobel Prizes for Literature.

World Heritage sites are considered to be of 'outstanding universal value' and are defined as being of "cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity".

Inscribed

Ireland currently has three sites -- The Giant's Causeway in Co Antrim, which was inscribed in 1986, Bru na Boinne in Co Meath (1993), and Skellig Michael in Co Kerry (1996).

The new list recommends the Burren, Ceide Fields and north-west Mayo Boglands, Clonmacnoise, Dublin -- A Georgian City and its Literary Tradition, Early Medieval Monastic Sites, the Royal Sites of Ireland and Western Stone Forts.

"It is now much more difficult to meet the UNESCO requirements for inscription," Mr Gormley said.

"I believe that the draft list contains a list of those Irish properties which are of outstanding universal value and which meet the UNESCO inscription requirements."

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There will be consultation with stakeholders and interested parties before any region is formally nominated.

Last October, the minister established an Expert Advisory Group to carry out a review of Ireland's 1992 Tentative List of potential sites for nomination.

The next stage is that local authorities and communities will be consulted in relation to potential sites in their areas and there will be an opportunity to make observations on the draft new Tentative List. The deadline for submissions on the current list is December 23.

The World Heritage List has almost 900 properties, including the Alhambra in Spain, Red Square in Russia and Acropolis in Greece.


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