Supported by BT Ireland, the first Transatlantic Telegraph Cable Festival will take place on Valentia Island, Co. Kerry, from July 13-17. The festival will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first successful transatlantic cable between Valentia Island and Heart’s Content, Newfoundland, laid in 1866 to connect Europe with the new world for the first time.

This significant moment in Irish and global history established modern telecommunications as we know them today, and placed Ireland at the forefront of a technological revolution. For BT, the Atlantic Cable marked a major milestone in the company’s 170 year heritage, by connecting into the company’s inland telegraph network – the world’s first national network.

“As a global company with almost 600 employees locally, BT is proud to support the Telegraph Cable Festival and to celebrate Ireland’s part in connecting Europe to the Americas for the first time,” said Shay Walsh, Managing Director of BT Ireland. “The creation of the transatlantic cable marked the beginning of a new era for Ireland and created a platform which profoundly impacted communication, technology and society today.”

On July 14, the Valentia Island Development Committee will host a celebration dinner, sponsored by BT and attended by 200 guests including local and national politicians, Canadian Ambassador Kevin Vickers, Sir Adrian Fitzgerald, 24th Knight of Kerry, and direct descendants of notable figures connected with the original cable including the family of Cyrus Field, the entrepreneur responsible for the cable and of James Graves, the first superintendent of the Cable Station.

The festival line-up includes activities for all the family, including fireworks, robotic workshops, a cable swim, and walking and cycling tours. Introduced by David Hay, BT’s Head of Heritage and Archives, distinguished historian of the Transatlantic Cable Professor Donard De Cogan, will also launch his book, They Talk Along the Deep – 100 Years of Cable History.

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The Valentia Island Development Committee is currently investigating the potential for Valentia Island to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its important role in communications technology and the Transatlantic Cable Story. An exhibition on Valentia’s role in the Transatlantic Cable development will be on display throughout the summer months at the Valentia Island Heritage Centre.

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