Valentia Cable Station, pre-1914 Photo by: Google Images

Descendants of the founders of the Transatlantic Cable gather on Valentia Island


Valentia Cable Station, pre-1914 Photo by: Google Images

In a unique twist of fate, the direct descendants of the two people most responsible for bringing the Transatlantic Cable to Valentia Island will unite for the launch of an International Transatlantic Cable Heritage project.

Cyrus Field IV who is the great, great grandson of Cyrus Field will attend the ‘Transatlantic Communications and Light Gathering’ on Valentia Island along with the Current Knight of Kerry Sir Adrian Fitzgerald who is the great, great grandson of the Knight of Kerry who was responsible for facilitating the Cable connection to Valentia. Both men became good friends and now their descendants will rekindle that friendship in the year of the gathering.
“The Cable has been uniting North America and Europe since the 1866. Designation of Valentia as a potential World Heritage site acknowledges one of the first wonders of modern-day communication. Our family is delighted to be supporting this initiative,” said Field.
“Preserving the Transatlantic Telegraph landing sites is an opportunity to celebrate one of humanities modern marvels of the 19th Century” he added.

Cyrus. W. Field was the driving force behind the Transatlantic Cable. Field, who was an American businessman, is thought of by many historians as one of the greatest Americans of the 19th Century. His greatest accomplishments lay in the bottom of the Atlantic for more than 150 years. Cyrus was born in 1819 and had retired by the time he was 33 as he made his fortune in making paper for stationary.

Field was a self made man he started this company at the tender age of 18. It was here he honed his skills in negotiation and became a formidable businessman. Field had a workaholic mindset and while this brought him financial success also it brought ill health which forced him to retire under doctors orders at a young age. Field then put plans in place to enjoy life and travel the world with his wife. However, this was not to be his destiny.

His determination is what drove the transatlantic cable to a reality in 1858 despite many years of setbacks and failures: This is why Cyrus W Fields was the driving force behind the Transatlantic cable.

In addition the Current Knight of Kerry Sir Adrian Fitzgerald will give a presentation which is titled “The Influence of the Knights of Kerry,” on Monday June 3rd at 7:00 pm in St John the Baptist Church, Knightstown.
This talk will give an overview of the Knights of Kerry in Dingle, Listowel and Valentia. It will also examine the careers of the two Knights most associated with Valentia, Maurice 18th Knight and Peter 19th Knight and finally it will provide a pocket history of the Cable Laying Project c1856-1867.

The Knight of Kerry and Cyrus Field IV will attend one of the highlights of the event which will be a Gala Dinner also attended by Minister Jimmy Deenihan along with a host of other dignitaries. In addition to this the Island will host the opening of the Cromwell Point Lighthouse on Sunday June 2nd at 3.30pm, which will allow access to the public for the very first time. Valentia is inviting all those with a connection to the Island back for this weekend of celebration.

This is an event that will celebrate the island’s rich heritage with the Transatlantic Cable and communications will be a major theme over the weekend. All three communications elements on the Island; the cable station, the radio station, and the lighthouse will be explored through a series of insightful and interesting lectures. There will also be the opportunity to take various tours of these significant sites.

As well as soaking up the traditional island welcome and some great live music this weekend will afford you the opportunity to mingle in the company of friends old and new. ‘We aim to celebrate with the wider community, to reunite the family descendants’ who were part of that glorious age, and also tell the world that Valentia is ready to once again take its rightful place as a centre for heritage preservation and communications innovation,’ said Anthony O’Connell, one of the organisers.

For more information on this exciting event visit www.valentiawelcomestheworld.com, call Valentia Island Tourist Office on +353 (66) 9476985 or email valentiaislandtouristoffice@gmail.com.


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