Valentia Islanders hope to use the island's maritime history to build an economic base for the future. The plan is to make Valentia a major maritime research and historical centre.

A number of initiatives are now being put in place to attract tourism and investment on the island. 

Valentia is home to one of three altazamuths around the world used in the development of longitude which is the base of navigational science and is an important part of the island's maritime heritage. Valentia is also the location where the first transatlantic communication cable was landed. 

Valentia fishermen have also begun the task of reseeding the local scallop beds. It is hoped that this investment will provide work during the winter months when normally they wouldn't have a regular source of income. 

The return of an old lifeboat to the island has also added to its rich maritime history. Lifeboat mechanic Leo Houlihan provides some history on the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) vessel Rowland Watts which was stationed on the island from 1957 to 1983. During this time, the boat saved 132 lives. The plan is now to restore the lifeboat bringing it back to its former glory and to become the focal point of the new marine centre which will replace the village museum. 

The islanders foresee the new centre as telling their story to the world. 

Islander Diarmuid Ring describes some of the museum's acquisitions including the recently acquired footprints of the Tetrapod which date back 365 million years.  

We live in a very historical island. It is thought that Valentia island is the oldest known inhabited place in Ireland.

Bernie Walsh tells the story of the fisherman's leather boot on display which belonged to one of Kerry's greatest footballers Mick O'Connell's father. 

This episode of Nationwide was broadcast on 24 October 1999. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.