Four Northern Irish sites have been submitted as entries for the next conferring round of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Currently there is one site in Northern Ireland on the list - the Giant’s Causeway, and two in the Republic: Skellig Michael and a historic bend in the River Boyne.
The four up for submission include Malone and Stranmillis Historic Urban Landscape, a part of Belfast, Navan Fort in Co Armagh, Gracehill Conservation Area, and...the Hill of Derry.
Since submission it’s emerged that the enigmatic Hill of Derry is none other than Belfast City Centre itself. “defined on one side by the River and on the other by a silted up former course (the Bogside). It includes the location of an important monastic city which was completely replaced in the 17th century by a colonial foundation on its northern slope,” says the submission.
A total of 38 nominations were submitted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, including those in the UK, Northern Ireland, Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies.
The process of becoming an official UNESCO World Heritage site is a lengthy one; it can take ten years from the first signs of tentative nomination, like these ones, and even then a large percentage of submissions are turned down. The list for consideration is known as the “tentative list”.
The current Irish tentative list includes locations such as the famous Rock of Cashel, Killarney National Park, the Historic City of Dublin, the Ceide Fields, and several others.