|Native name: Dairbhre|
|Area||25.7 km2 (9.9 sq mi)|
|Length||11 km (6.8 mi)|
|Width||3 km (1.9 mi)|
|Largest settlement||Knightstown (pop. 156)|
Valentia Island (Irish: Dairbhre, meaning "The Oak Wood") is one of Ireland's most westerly points. It lies off the Iveragh Peninsula in the southwest of County Kerry. It is linked to the mainland by the Maurice O'Neill Memorial Bridge at Portmagee. A car ferry also departs from Reenard Point to Knightstown, the island's main settlement, from April to October. A second, smaller village named Chapeltown is located at roughly the midpoint of the island, 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) from the bridge. The permanent population of the island is 665 (as of the 2011 CSO Census[update]). It is approximately 11 kilometres (7 miles) long by almost 3 kilometres (2 miles) wide.
The English name Valentia Island (also spelled Valencia Island) doesn't come exactly from the Spanish city of Valencia, but from a settlement on the island called An Bhaile Inse or Beal Inse ("mouth of the island" or "island in the mouth of the sound"), which in turn could have been reinterpreted as similar to the Spanish town by Englishmen and Spaniards sailors and settlers alike (there is a grave marker to Spanish sailors lost at sea in the Catholic cemetery at Kylemore).
Valentia was the eastern terminus of the first commercially viable transatlantic telegraph cable. The first attempt in 1857 to land a cable from Ballycarbery Strand on the mainland just east of Valentia Island ended in disappointment. After subsequent failures of cables landed at Knightstown in 1858 and Foilhommerum Bay in 1865, the vast endeavor finally resulted in commercially viable transatlantic telegraph communications from Foilhommerum Bay to Heart's Content, Newfoundland in 1866. Transatlantic telegraph cables operated from Valentia Island for one hundred years, ending with Western Union International terminating its cable operations in 1966.
Prior to the transatlantic telegraph, American longitude measurements had a 2,800-foot (850 m) uncertainty with respect to European longitudes. Because of the importance of accurate longitudes to safe navigation, the U.S. Coast Survey mounted a longitude expedition in 1866 to link longitudes in the United States accurately to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Benjamin Gould and his partner A. T. Mosman reached Valentia on 2 October 1866. They built a temporary longitude observatory beside the Foilhommerum Cable Station to support synchronized longitude observations with Heart's Content, Newfoundland. After many rainy and cloudy days, the first transatlantic longitude signals were exchanged between Foilhommerum and Heart's Content on October 24, 1866.
In 1993 an undergraduate geology student discovered fossilised tetrapod trackways, footprints preserved in Devonian rocks, on the north coast of the island at Dohilla ( ). About 385 million years ago, a primitive vertebrate passed near a river margin in the sub-equatorial river basin that is now southwestern Ireland and left prints in the damp sand. The prints were preserved by silt and sand overlying them, and were converted to rock over geological time. The Valentia Island trackways are among the oldest signs of vertebrate life on land.
|Source: Central Statistics Office. "CNA17: Population by Off Shore Island, Sex and Year". CSO.ie. Retrieved October 12, 2016.|
Places of interest
- Geokaun Mountain and Fogher Cliffs : the highest mountain on Valentia Island and the sea cliffs of 600 feet (180 m) on its northern face.
- On the northeast of the island stands Glanleam House amid sub-tropical gardens. Protected by windbreaks from Atlantic gales and never touched by frost, these gardens provide the mildest microclimate in Ireland. Starting in the 1830s, Sir Peter George Fitzgerald, the 19th Knight of Kerry (1808–1880), planted these gardens and stocked them with a unique collection of rare and tender plants from the southern hemisphere, normally grown under glass in Ireland. The gardens are laid out in a naturalistic style as a series of walks. There are plants from South America, Australia, New Zealand (the tallest tree ferns in Europe), Chile and Japan. The gardens are memorialized in a selected golden-variegated Luma apiculata "Glanleam Gold" that originated as a sport in the garden. The gardens are open to the public.
- The slate quarry which reopened in 1998 provided slates for the British Houses of Parliament.
- The island also hosts a heritage centre which tells the story of the geology, human, natural and industrial history of the island, with exhibits on the Cable Station, the Marine Radio Station and the RNLI's Valentia Lifeboat Station.
- The Telegraph Field (or Longitude Field) is the site of the first permanent communications link between Europe and North America Transatlantic telegraph cables operated from Valentia Island from 1866.
Weather station location and Climate
The Valentia Island Weather Station is located 51° 56' 23"N, 10° 14'40"W and is 25 metres (82 feet) above mean sea level. It is one of the 22 coastal weather stations whose reports are broadcast as part of the BBC Shipping Forecast. Valentia Observatory is part of Met Éireann, the Irish Meteorological Service. The observatory was set up in August 1868. Valentia island is, on average, the wettest weather station in Ireland. The monthly averages for Sunshine and Rainfall are based on 2010 statistics which are around average apart from July, which received only 40% of its normal sunshine hours and 219% of its normal rainfall. Valentia island also has a station for Navtex transmissions. Valentia Island sits on the eastern edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Despite it being on the same latitude as St. Anthony in Newfoundland on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean, it enjoys much milder winters thanks to the moderating effect of prevailing west or south west winds, and the effects of the warming Gulf Stream current. Snow and frost are rare, and because of this the island can support many sub-tropical varieties of plants.
|Climate data for Valentia Island, County Kerry (1981–2010, extremes 1892–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||14.8
|Average high °C (°F)||9.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||7.3
|Average low °C (°F)||4.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−7.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||173.8
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)||22||19||21||17||17||17||19||19||19||22||22||22||236|
|Average snowy days||1.0||0.8||0.7||0.3||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.1||0.7||3.7|
|Average relative humidity (%)||79.2||76.2||75.0||72.4||72.9||76.7||80.0||78.5||77.2||78.4||79.6||79.9||77.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||43.4||62.2||93.0||156.0||182.9||159.0||139.5||136.4||117.0||83.7||54.0||40.3||1,267.4|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||1.4||2.2||3.0||5.2||5.9||5.3||4.5||4.4||3.9||2.7||1.8||1.3||3.5|
|Source: Met Éireann|
- Helen Blackburn who was a leading women's rights campaigner in England was born here in 1842.
- Valentia was considered home to Mug Ruith, a powerful blind druid in Irish mythology.
- The O'Sullivans, headed by the O'Sullivan Beare, owned much of Valentia until the 17th century.
- The noted naturalist Maude Jane Delap lived and worked in Knightstown, carrying out important research into the marine life surrounding Valentia and identifying many new species.
- Valentia is the home of former Gaelic footballer, Mick O'Connell and the birthplace of John J "Scéilig" O'Kelly, leader of Sinn Féin from 1926.
- Gaelic footballer Ger O'Driscoll was born on Valentia Island.
- The American solo rock climber Michael Reardon died on 13 July 2007 at the Fogher Cliffs of Valentia Island when he was swept out to sea following a successful climb.
- Gerald Spring Rice, 6th Baron Monteagle of Brandon was brought up on the island, as were many other members of the Spring Rice family.
- Charles Knight (1867). The English Cyclopaedia: Geography. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
- Electoral Division Valencia (CSO Area Code ED 19025). Census of Ireland 2011 (Report). 1 – Population Classified by Area. Central Statistics Office of Ireland. Valencia.
- Alan Ryan Hall.
- The Atlantic Cable, Smithsonian Institution, USA.
- John R. Isaac, 1857 — Laying the Atlantic Telegraph Cable from Ship to Shore, History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications.
- The Telegraph Field.
- Stössel, I., Williams, E.A. & Higgs, K.T. (2016) Ichnology and depositional environment of the Middle Devonian Valentia Island tetrapod trackways, south-west Ireland. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 462, 16–40.
- The FitzGerald (Knights of Kerry) Papers (MIC/639 and T/3075), Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, UK.
- Condon, Des (2006). "Valentia Island". Cromane Community Council.
- Valentia Heritage Centre Website.[where?]
- "Valentia 1981–2010 averages". Met Éireann. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- "Absolute Maximum Air Temperatures for each Month at Selected Stations" (PDF). Met Éireann. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- "Absolute Minimum Air Temperatures for each Month at Selected Stations" (PDF). Met Éireann. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- "Blackburn, Helen (1842–1903), campaigner for women's rights". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-31905.
- Toby Barnard, ‘O'Sullivan Beare, Philip (b. c.1590, d. in or after 1634)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
- Mulvihill, Mary (2003). Ingenious Ireland: A County-by-County Exploration of the Mysteries and Marvels of the Ingenious Irish. Dublin: Simon and Schuster. pp. 397–398. ISBN 0684020947. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "Obituary: Captain The Lord Monteagle of Brandon". The Guards Magazine. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- Valentia Island Portal
- Valentia Heritage Centre
- Valentia Island Annual Music Festival
- Travel Information
- The Tetrapod Trackways
- The Laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable
- Telegraph Cable History Trail
- Cable History at the Valentia Heritage Centre
- Alan Hall - Sculptor of the First Transatlantic Cable and First message sent to USA 1856 Memorial
- Submarine Telegraphs, Their History, Construction, and Working by Charles Bright
- Linking European and American Longitude
- IEEE History Center: County Kerry Transatlantic Cable Stations, 1866
- The Transatlantic Longitude as Determined by the Coast Survey Expedition of 1866
- Valentia Island Sea Angling
- The Telegraph Field - Valentia Island
- Irelandbyways site Valentia Information
- Valentia Island
- Browne, E.T., The fauna and flora of Valencia Harbour on the west coast of Ireland. Proc. R.Ir. Acad., ser.3,5, 667-854
Media related to Valentia Island at Wikimedia Commons