The Transatlantic cable formed an important part of the lives of generations of those who lived on Valentia Island and we are proud that Atlantic Villa is a part of that history, and indeed ourselves having the Canadian connection. We were researching for the plaque to commemorate James Graves with the help of his great, great grandson when he told us his own Atlantic Villa story.

The Atlantic Villa Cablemaster’s House story, as told to us by Gordon Graves, the great, great grandson of James Graves who lived at Atlantic Villa. Gordon owns a house at Cable Terrace, Knightstown.

1901 census is extremely interesting as I can actually compare notes made by my late Father on a house-to- house basis proving that he lived at the top of the Main Street next to the Rectory (now Mrs Gallagher’s house). When James Graves died in 1911 he left the house to his son Arthur Graves who died in 1916 and who in turn left it to his son Charlie (my Father’s father). He Charlie sold the house in 1923 for 500 pounds to a Dr Murphy and went to live in the married quarters of the Cable Station where he worked. I suspect he sold-up because his son was at boarding school and found the house and lovely grounds to be too cumbersome for him and his wife to keep. By an extraordinary quirk of fate the house my Brother and I purchased in 1984 turned out to be the same one at Cable Terrace that in which my Father and his parents lived (and that’s another story ……………)!

Gordon also kindly gave us the slate sundial that was given to James Graves in 1909 on the occasion of his retirement. This historical piece has a place of pride now in our front garden for all to enjoy along with a plaque at the front door to commemorate James Graves first Superintendent of the Valentia Island Cable Station.

James Graves Sun Dial | Atlantic Villa James Graves Plaque | Atlantic Villa

James Graves (1833 – 1911)

For over a hundred years the Trans-Atlantic Cable formed an important part of the lives of those living on Valentia Island. Being the most westerly inhabited point in Europe the island became the terminus of the European end of the line. Valentia Island and Heart’s Content in Newfoundland, Canada were chosen because of the shortest distance across the Atlantic was between these two points. In the early years, every message crossing the Atlantic passed through the Station at Valentia under the supervision of James Graves, the first Superintendent. He worked for the Anglo American Telegraph Company for 44 years. His son Arthur Graves and his son Charlie Graves also worked at the Station and Graves family lived at Atlantic Villa until 1923.

Our thanks to Donard de Cogan for the following images and information relating to the history of Atlantic Villa.

Cable Station Staff circa 1900 | Atlantic Villa
Graves and his staff ca 1900. Given that he is sitting in one and standing in the other we might assume that the picture on the left was his senior staff while that on the right was his junior staff
James Graves | Atlantic Villa
End of an era – James Graves leaves the Cable Station at Valentia for the last time.
Graves family circa 1909 | Atlantic Villa
Four generations. The baby in arms is Robbie Graves, born 1909. To the left of the picture is his grandfather, Arthur James and to right, his father, Charles James. Robbie was an Irish
rugby cap in the late 1930s.

Learn more about the Transatlantic Cable

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Windowbox | Atlantic Villa

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Tig | Atlantic Villa

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Awards and Recognition

Fáilte Ireland Eco Friendly | Atlantic VillaFáilte Ireland Adventure Seekers Welcome | Atlantic VillaFáilte Ireland Anglers Welcome | Atlantic VillaFáilte Ireland Walkers Welcome | Atlantic VillaGreen Tourism Gold | Atlantic Review | Atlantic VillaTrip Advisor Excellence Certificate 2016 | Atlantic VillaAirbnb Superhost | Atlantic VillaFáilte 4* Accommodation on the Wild Atlantic Way | Atlantic Villa