Separated from the mainland by a long, narrow channel that’s now bridged, VALENTIA barely feels like an island. For such a small, remote spot, it boasts a surprising number of claims to fame: as well as being known from the radio shipping forecasts and for Valentia slate, which was used for the Houses of Parliament in London and the Paris Opera House, it was from here that the first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid in 1866. To add to the island’s repute, the oldest fossilized footprints in the northern hemisphere, the so-called Tetrapod Trackway, were discovered here in 1992 by a Swiss geology student. Most of the island’s amenities are in or around Knightstown at the northeastern tip, which provides dramatic views of the Iveragh Mountains, as well as a seasonal ferry link to the mainland.
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