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.
13 May – 30 September 2023
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)
To allow for social distancing on Skellig Michael and the safe flow of the visiting public to and from the monastic site, each visitor will be limited to a 30 minute stay at the monastery.
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
- Children must be strictly supervised at all times
- 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.
- Guided tours
- Hold hand rail
- Limited Access
- Stay back from edge
- Uneven walkways
Nearby sites to visit
The childhood home of Daniel O’Connell
Approx. 27.2 km from Skellig Michael
The Blasket Centre – Ionad an Bhlascaoid
The story of a remarkable island community
Approx. 39.8 km from Skellig Michael
Ilnacullin – Garinish Island
An island garden of rare beauty
Approx. 67.7 km from Skellig Michael