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Heritage Ireland

Skellig Michael

An island monastery towering over the sea

See all opening times

Skellig Michael

An island monastery towering over the sea

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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Skellig Michael

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

13 Bealtaine – 30 Meán Fómhair 2023

Athraíonn na socruithe maidir le hoscailt, ag brath ar an aimsir.

Ní bhíonn aon fhoireann ar an suíomh ag amanna eile agus tá cosc ar chuairteanna.

Meánfhad Cuairte: 2.5 uair (gan turas báid san áireamh)


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.


Co. Kerry

Getting Here

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

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  • Guided tours


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

Nearby sites to visit

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