The first transatlantic link was laid here in 1857, putting Cahirciveen in direct contact with New York, even though no connection had been established with Dublin. The history of the Valentia - US cable can be viewed at the Valentia Heritage Centre situated near Knightstown, the focal point of the island. This event is only part of the history surrounding this mystical island.

Valentia will be of interest to the local (Wicklow) historian as Captain Robert Halpin, who lived in Wicklow at Tinakilly House and was born in the Bridge Tavern, was master of the Great Eastern, the ship which laid the first transatlantic cable. For more information visit

The slate quarry opened in 1816 provided one of the main sources of income for the island. This quarry was used to supply flagstones and roof-slates for some of the most famous buildings in the world, including the "House of Commons" at Westminister and the London and San Salvadore train stations.

Also of interest to the history buff on Valentia Island, geologists discovered the earliest fossilised footprints of a prehistoric creature ever found in Europe, and possibly the world. The 385 million years old Tetrapod footsteps fossils are a major archaeological discovery. They have attracted interest from archaeologists world-wide and was featured in "National Geographic" magazine in May 1999, in an article entitled "The rise of life on earth" by Keri Westenberg

Archaelogists will find Valentia a fantastic window to the past as there are signs of habitation from 6,000 years B.C. There are plenty of early Celtic Church remains around the island as well as numerous standing stones, wedge tombs, remains of castles and Ring forts.

The "Skellig Experience", situated just when one crosses over the island via road, is a must to visit. It contains exhibitions of the life and times of the monks who lived on the island and is an ideal place to go if visiting the Skellig Islands for background information.

The Glanleam Estate is another major tourist attraction. The former residence of "The Knight of Kerry" (the Fitzgerald family), it is now a converted guest-house open to the public offering the most westerly Sub-Tropical gardens in Europe - the profusion of colour is remarkable. These gardens are open to the public, and offer a Tea-room for refreshments.

The Heritage Museum in Knightstown portrays life and conditions on the Island in pictorial and written form from the last century. It also covers the Western Union involvement with Valentia, and the meteorological station, and coastal marine Radio Station, and Valentia Life-Boat.