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Warm weather in time for re-opening of Skellig Michael

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Skellig Michael has re-opened to tourists this week following its closure due to a rockfall.

Skellig Michael has re-opened to tourists this week following its closure due to a rockfall.

Skellig Michael has re-opened to tourists this week following its closure due to a rockfall.

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Sunshine greeted visitors to the world-famous Skellig Michael (Sceilg Mhichíl) today as the island re-opened to tourists.

The UNESCO world heritage site has been closed since mid-June following a rockfall. 

Its closure was a huge blow to the boat operators to the island given it is only open for a short summer season. 

The COVID pandemic closed the island for much of the past two years, so this year was seen as especially important from a tourism perspective, and its closure was another blow to the local region. 

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However, while the island was closed, boat tours could operate around the island, which many visitors to South Kerry opt to do. 

Paul Devane of Skellig Michael Tours said the benefits to South Kerry of the island re-opening can be seen already. 

"Businesses are delighted that it has re-opened. It is busier around already,” said Paul. 

"Boat operators who land on the island have missed 21 landings due to the closure. It has been been three weeks today since it was last open. It is a lot to miss,” he said. 

However, Mr Devane said many of those who were unable to land during the closure opted to take trips around the island, and these are proving very popular too given the cost of the landing trip and the climbing involved.

He said the trips around the island gave visitors another option. 

"The tours around the island helped a lot...tourism is dependent on the island.”

He said this year is busy but not as busy as previous years given the cost of travel and other factors. 

The OPW was left with no choice but to close the island to allow clearance works and to ensure the safety of visitors to the site. 

An ornithological expert, appointed by the Office of Public Works, supervised the works crew in a bid to protect birdlife on the island. 

Skellig Michael had been due to open at the weekend but bad weather hampered this and it was postponed until today, Monday. July 4. 

The OPW had come under fire from local councillors for its closure, and in particular the lack of clarity around its re-opening.


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