Steve Butterfield

I visited the Skellig islands off the west coast of Southern Ireland in the summer of 2015 with my two walking friends, Tom and Brian. We visited them before starting the Dingle Way.

For those wishing to visit (and I would highly recommend it) there are a few things to take into account:

     1.     You must plan ahead - do onto just turn up and expect a ferry to take you

     2.     You need to find an accredited skipper (these are limited in number as the number of landings is very limited each day)

     3.     The weather could prevent you from sailing due to rough seas and difficulty landing in the very small landing are on the island. Also, low cloud could make it very difficult to ascend and descend the steep paths safely.

So planning ahead is absolutely vital. If like us, you have one shot at it, then we just have to take the weather as it is and if the skipper says he can’t sail - we just have to accept it.

Luckily for us the weather was kind and the visibility good.

The Skellig Islands are a world heritage site and have wardens living there all the time. They only spend a few weeks at a time then are relieved by another crew.

There are two Islands the main one is called Skellig Michael. It was inhabited by some monks who  lived there to “get away from it all”  The other is called little Skellig.

You can see from the pictures the steepness of the sides of the island. There would have been very little opportunity to grow produce so much would have had to have been brought for the main land.

Skellig Michael has the 6th Century Monastery dedicated to St. Michael

The strange dome shaped building were I’m sure designed like that to withstand the extreme weather.

The number of visitors is limited for safety reasons. We were lucky in that there were only a small number of other visitors there when we went.

I would highly recommend a visit, it was a truly fascinating place.

The smaller of the two Skellig islands is uninhabited by humans but has a very large sea bird population.

The Island gained fame when one of the Star Wars films had scenes shot on Skellig Michael.

The following link describes the Skellig Islands and the reasons for their status as a world heritage site in more detail.