“The Most Fantastic And Impossible Rock In The World”
These are the words of George Bernard Shaw, who visited the island in the late 1800s.
One of the most mysterious and enchanting of our local attractions is the Skellig Rocks. These floating pyramids of sandstone have been home to some of the earliest monastic settlements in Ireland as well as providing sanctuary to fantastic numbers of bird life in the area. A visit is a must and boat trips to the rock are available every Summer from mid-May to the start of October. Skelligs is a magical place and it would be a crime to come to Kerry and not experience it.
Boat Tours to the Skellig Islands
You can take a trip to Skelligs to view these magnificent natural monuments up close. Skelligs Tours generally run from mid-May to early October, depending on the weather. Boats generally leave at 9in the morning and arrive back at 2 o’ clock, give or take a half hour.
The trip will cost you in the region of €85 but is well worth it. If you’ve got sea legs, you have a distinct advantage since the seas can get quite choppy from time to time.
But after climbing up and down 618 steps most people build up quite an appetite – groups of ravenous sea-farers invade the nearby Bridge Bar and Moorings Restaurant for a hearty Irish meal as soon as the boats arrive in.
You can read more about what you need to know in advance of your trip in our Skellig Islands Boat Tours Booking Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.
Skellig Island History
Mentions of these two majestic outposts are scattered throughout ancient floklore and early Christian history alike. The earliest reference found so far dates back to around 1400 BC! A poem tells the tale of how the Tuatha De Danann caused the invader, Milesius, to shipwreck in the area. A later reference, circa 200 AD, tells of Daire Domhain – King of the World – resting there before an epic year and a day battle against Fionn Mac Cool and the Fianna.
From this point on, the history of Skellig is very much a Christian one. The amazingly well-preserved monastic settlements still intact on Skellig Michael, date back to as early as the 6th Century.
Star Wars – Skellig Michael’s Starring Role as Ahch-To
Star Wars is, unquestionably, the biggest contributor to Skellig Michael’s recent fame as Skellig was chosen as the location of the island sanctuary of Luke Skywalker, on the planet Ahch-To.
Check out our Skellig Michael Star Wars section to find out more.
Skellig Island Wildlife and Ecology
Little Skellig or Small Skellig, as the second island is known, is the second largest gannet colony in Europe with over 20,000 nesting pairs. Other species such as cormorant, and varieties of gull also inhabit the island. Skellig Michael itself is home to a wide variety of birdlife including the iconic puffin who is strongly associated with the rocks.
Most recent estimates put the puffin population at around 4,000 and, if you want to see them, it’s best to come as early in the season as you can as they migrate off the island traditionally on August 7th.