In its number of sites, quality of preservation and striking landscape contexts, the collective Neolithic passage tombs/cairns of County Sligo have few counterparts in the world. These monumental landscapes contain over eighty sites of this tradition, including those found at Knocknarea, Carrowmore, Carns Hill, the Ox Mountains, Carrowkeel, on the Hill of Keash and other (often unopened) hilltop cairns. But the fabric of interwoven landscape and heritage is a fragile one and many of these monuments are under threat and require a long-term management and conservation strategy.
Sligo County Council in coordination with the Sligo Neolithic Landscapes group believe attaining UNESCO World Heritage Site status will highlight the importance of these sites in world historical terms. Critically, the WHS consultation process will help us to create a dedicated management plan using UNESCO best practice, more funding and support for landowners, and an effective strategy for sustainable tourism. In this regard, we aim to submit an application at the end of March 2021 for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tentative List.
If successful in this bid, it would begin a process of communication and cooperation between landowners, the local authority and all other stakeholders. At heart, achieving WHS status is a ‘ground up’ process of engagement which would take place over several years, a sustained conversation between all parties. The process itself would promote greater engagement with local communities and stakeholders, discussion forums, schools visits, as well as engagement with other groups at other WHS sites nationally and internationally.
If you would like any further information about this application, please feel free to contact Sligo County Council or Sligo neolithic Landscapes. If you would like to know more about Sligo’s Neolithic heritage please visit: https://sligoneolithic.org/. Sligo Neolithic Landscapes are a PPN group, part of a network of over 400 community and voluntary organisations aiming to effect positive change in Sligo.