Address: Co. Kerry
Telephone No: +353 1 647 6620 (National Monuments) +353 1 647 6000 (Visitor Services)
Opening Date for Skellig Michael 2017 Visitor Season
Following the recent serious rockfall at Skellig Michael, a significant amount of work has been ongoing to make the Island ready for visitors intending to visit this summer.
At this stage, the OPW is cautiously optimistic that Skellig Michael will open to the public on schedule on 14th May. However, much will depend on the weather conditions in the next few weeks and a prolonged period of wet weather for example may have an effect on areas of the mountainside that have been stripped of vegetation and remain somewhat vulnerable.
The OPW will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide any updates in future days.
The OPW reminds potential visitors that the Island remains in an extremely dangerous condition and should under no circumstances be accessed by anyone before the official opening date other than the OPW works team and their Contractors.
OPW Heritage Service.
At all other times this site is unmanned and visits are prohibited.
Opening arrangements are variable, depending on weather conditions.
Please note that the guide service of the Office of Public Works will commence on Skellig Michael from 14th May - 2nd October 2017 Weather Permitting.
Average Length of Visit: 2 ½ hours (excluding boat trip)
PLEASE NOTE: The use of drones on Skellig Michael is not permitted.
Free of Charge
Separate charge imposed by boat operator(s).
None (Please note that there are no toilets. Visitors are advised to carry water and to wear protective clothing)
Camping is strictly prohibited.
Please note that access is dependent on tidal/weather conditions. Children must be strictly supervised at all times. This is a particularly vulnerable site and visitors are therefore asked to co-operate with our efforts to protect this monument. No animals are allowed on this site.
Queries and Responses (PDF)
Important Safety Notice - Please Read (210kb PDF)
Welcome to Skellig Michael World Heritage Site
Skellig Michael is a wilderness site and a designated Nature Reserve. The site presents a unique landscape and visitors must take care at all times.
A visit to the monastery will entail a climb of 618 steps, ascending over 600 ft. (180 metres). It is a demanding climb and any person with health issues should consider carefully their own physical limitations before exploring this part of the site.
· Visitors must stay on the recognised pathways at all times
· Children must be strictly supervised at all times
· Beware of falling rocks
· Steep gradient on the steps
· Uneven steps
· Steps slippery when wet
The magnificent Skellig Islands lie 8 miles (12 km) off the coast of Portmagee in South West Kerry. Rising majestically from the sea, Skellig Michael towers 714ft (218 metres) above sea level. On the summit of this awe inspiring rock you will find a remarkably well-preserved sixth century monastic settlement.
The earliest reference in history to the Skellig Islands dates back to 1400BC. During the time of the Penal Laws, Skellig Michael and Little Skellig became a haven for many Catholics whose beliefs and rights were being suppressed. The largest of the Skelligs is Skellig Michael (Sceilg Mhichil) and was home to one of the earliest monastic settlements in Ireland. These monks of St. Fionan's monastery led simple lives and lived in stone, beehive shaped huts. They would descend the steps early every morning and fish for the morning's breakfast. They would spend most of the day praying in the church, tending to their gardens and studying. These huts, which were round on the outside and rectangular on the inside, were carefully built so that no drop of rain ever entered between the stones. The monks left the island in the thirteenth century and it became a place of pilgrimage. There is a fantastic wealth of bird life on and around the Skelligs, especially puffins in late spring and gannets on the small Skellig where 23,000 pairs nest on every available ledge making it the second largest gannet colony in the world.
Location: 11.5km boat trip from Portmagee, Valentia or Ballinskelligs
Bus Route(s): Contact Bus Eireann, Travel Centre +353 1 836 6111 (for travel to Portmagee, Valentia or Ballinskelligs)
Guided Tours: No
Leaflet/Guide book: None
Seasonal Events: Please check in advance using contact details listed above
Photography / Video allowed: Yes