Saturday 19 October 2019

Skellig Michael to re-open this weekend for 130-day season

The Force is with the Skelligs this weekend, as the iconic tourist attraction re-opens for a 130-day season

Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Skellig Michael is set to re-open to visitors this weekend, following spells of poor weather that have delayed OPW works.

"Conditions for the coming days appear promising and it is expected that visitors will be able to land on Skellig Michael from this weekend," the OPW said in a statement.

The site was scheduled to open last week, but bad weather led to delays in finalising pre-season safety works, it added.

The 2019 visitor season will last around 130 days - with access weather-permitting, of course - and is due to formally close on September 30th.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site has seen a significant jump in visitor numbers following its appearance in the current Star Wars trilogy.

In 2016, 14,648 visitors made the trip to land at the sixth-century monastic site, a figure that grew to 16,755 in 2017 and 16,792 last year.

Little Skellig from Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Little Skellig from Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile

While visitor numbers have brought benefits to the area, they have also seen national trust body An Taisce raise concerns about sustainability.

To land at the site, visitors undertake a 45-minute boat trip that costs between €80 and €100, with a list of accredited local boatmen on heritageireland.ie.

Trips can be surprisingly challenging - with heavy swells, changeable weather and no shelter or facilities (including toilets) on the rock itself - although OPW guides do provide interpretation at the beehive huts.

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