Eighth Wonder - Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station
Over 150 years ago, the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable was laid between Valentia Island in Ireland and Heart’s Content in Newfoundland, Canada, connecting the Old World with the new World. The wire that changed the world, the Eighth Wonder of the World, reduced the time to send a message across the ocean from weeks to minutes and heralded the birth of global communications.
The laying of the Transatlantic Cable is a story of human endurance, science, adventure and genius and is told in the immersive visitor experience at the Valentia Cable Station. Listen to the entrepreneur Cyrus Field I and the Knight of Kerry regale about their adventure, try to send your own morse code message and try to break the code, learn about the underwater cables of today and how communications technology has changed.
Knightstown itself is one of the few ‘town-planned’ villages of Ireland. The village of Knightstown was laid out by Alexander Nimmo in 1830-31, but it wasn’t built until the early 1840’s when the quarry was greatly expanded and the works were moved to Knightstown. Nimmo envisaged a bridge when he lined up the main street (Market Street) with Renard Road across the channel on the other island.
The village was planned in a grid pattern like many towns in Europe at the time. The houses in the slate yard were built for slate workers in the 1840’s. Both Jane Street & Peter Street (named for the then Knight of Kerry and his wife) followed at a later date, along with the house formally known as Reidy’s shop.
The hotel also dates from this period of growth in the village. It was built by Thomas Young, a carpenter by trade who along with his family ran the hotel. Initially the hotel had a straight front without the beautiful bay windows, the function room wing at this time was a grain store which in time was incorporated into the hotel with the construction of the main entrance and stunning staircase.
Other buildings of note that were constructed during the 1800’s include The Watch House, Reenellen House, St. John the Baptist Church, Boston’s Bar, The Pod, along with Sullivan’s Dwelling House (now the Coffee Shop) built in 1888.