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Sceilg Mhichíl UNESCO World Heritage Property

An island monastery towering over the sea

11 May - 01 October 2024

See all opening times

Sceilg Mhichíl UNESCO World Heritage Property

An island monastery towering over the sea

11 May - 01 October 2024

See all opening times


Free of Charge

Separate charge imposed by Boat Operators

A list of Boat Operators may be found here

Getting here

Co. Kerry

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Sceilg Mhichíl UNESCO World Heritage Property

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.

Opening Times

11 May – 01 October 2024

Opening arrangements are variable, depending on weather conditions.

At all other times this site is unmanned and visits are prohibited.

Average Length of Visit: 2.5 hours (excluding boat trip)



Visitors are requested to adhere to the instructions of OPW Guide Staff 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
  • The island is not recommended for children under the age of 12
  • Beware of falling rocks
  • Steep gradient on the steps
  • Uneven steps
  • Steps slippery when wet

Visitors are advised to carry water and to wear protective clothing.

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.


Co. Kerry

Getting Here

11.5km boat trip from Portmagee, Valentia, Ballinskelligs or Derrynane Harbour.

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  • Guided tours


  • Appropriate footwear
  • Challenging Access
  • Hold hand rail
  • Limited Access
  • Stay back from edge
  • Uneven walkways

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