Rock of Cashel’s UNESCO world heritage bid needs political support

The Rock of Cashel bid for World Heritage status may be hindered by both unsightly scaffolding, and its inclusion on a larger list of 23 other royal sites in Ireland.

The Rock of Cashel bid for World Heritage status may be hindered by both unsightly scaffolding, and its inclusion on a larger list of 23 other royal sites in Ireland.

At this month’s Tipperary/Cashel Municipal District Meeting, Cllrs heard a status report on the bid from Ms Roisín O’Grady, Heritage Officer.

The Rock has been added to a list of 23 other royal sites, rather than being put forward as an independent site in its own right, said Ms O’Grady. It was felt this approach would give the bid extra weight before the UN Committee. Cllr Tom Wood asked that each Oireachtas member from Co. Tipperary give their special backing to the campaign. However, including the Rock with the 23 other sites was a “mistake.” “Cashel should have been nominated on its own merits. The ecclesiastical site of St. Cormac’s Chapel is unique in the world,” said Cllr Wood, who is a former Guide on the Rock. The campaign to have the Rock elevated to World Heritage status is nearly 25 years old. Only three other sites in Ireland can claim such status.

Cllr Martin Browne compared Ireland’s bid to that of the Netherlands, which has appointed seven experts and J5m to their bid. Cllr Browne said there was an “unrealistic” amount of work expected by the government of local community groups to bring the bid to fruition. “The amount of work involved is out of our ball park.” Cllr Michael Fitzgerald said money “is not the issue.”

Cllr Wood said all the knowledge required is “there in the OPW” (Office of Public Works.) “There are people there who have the expertise, archaeologists, historians, conservationists.” Cllr Wood said they are encouraging politicians at a high level to get behind the bid, as it needs political backing. Cllr Wood compared the conservation work on the Chapel unfavourably with that of similar work in Cordoba, Spain, where he visited with his wife Maribel. “There was scaffolding there for 12 years... with two years of work done on it, and it was built in eight years!”.