One of only two UNESCO world heritage sites in Ireland and also Luke Skywalker’s island retreat.

The magnificent Skellig Michael is one of only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Republic of Ireland. On the summit of this awe-inspiring rock off the Kerry coast is St Fionan’s monastery, one of the earliest foundations in the country. The monks who lived there prayed and slept in beehive-shaped huts made of stone, many of which remain to this day. The monks left the island in the thirteenth century. It became a place of pilgrimage and, during the time of the Penal Laws, a haven for Catholics. Following in the monks’ footsteps involves climbing 618 steep, uneven steps. Getting to the top is quite a challenge, but well worth the effort. As well as the wealth of history, there is a fantastic profusion of bird life on and around the island. Little Skellig is the second-largest gannet colony in the world.

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Good To Know

  • Admission is free
  • Separate charge imposed by boat operators.
  • Open usually mid May to early October.
  • Check website for opening.
  • At all other times this site is unmanned and visits are prohibited.
  • Average Length of Visit: 2.5 hours (excluding boat trip)
  • Opening arrangements are variable, depending on weather conditions.
  • 11.5km boat trip from Portmagee, Valentia, Ballinskelligs or Derrynane Harbour.


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