I want to book a 2020 Skellig Michael Landing Tour.
Every year, between the end of the landing season in October and the announcement of the landing season in Spring, there is a lull period when most boat operators do not take bookings.
Starting dates for the season are decided by the Office of Public Works, a government entity who are in charge of the island.
Historically, the island opens in mid-May, though this is subject to change year-to-year with the island opening on the 18th last year, and the 15th the year before that. This is subject to weather conditions which may push the first landings out even further than the official start date.
The announcement of the starting date is entirely at the OPW’s discretion and there has not been a set date or predictable pattern to the announcement.
Accordingly, many boat operators tend to wait until they know the official start date before opening up their bookings. However, because the boat operators are all independent of one another, some may choose to start accepting bookings ahead of the announcement. Others may accept booking enquiries and reserve a spot. It’s really down to the individual operator. However a good rule-of-thumb is that, if the boat operator has a website booking engine, where you can book the tour like booking a flight, then chances are they will only accept bookings through that route as managing the logistics of numerous enquiries is too time-consuming.
When do you expect the Skellig Landing Tour start date announcement to be made?
Unfortunately, we have no definitive answer on this at this moment in time as that is up to the OPW. But, based on the last number of years, the announcement of the official Skellig Michael Landing Tour season opening and closing dates tends to be between mid-to-late February to as late as mid-to-late March.
What can I do in the meantime to secure a landing tour?
One of the first things we recommend you do is to follow us on our social media channels:
We will be publishing regular updates on the opening season over the next while. But bear in mind that, with Twitter in particular, whether or not you see a post depends on the algorithm showing it to you.
You can also, of course, try contacting some of the boat operators directly to see if they are taking booking enquiries or provisional bookings. Or you can visit their individual websites to see if they have opened their booking engines.
Will all the boats be accepting bookings immediately?
There are 15 independent boat operators. Each handles their own bookings independently and there is no one, centralised booking facility for all of the boats. When the opening dates are announced, it’s entirely at each operator’s discretion as to when and how they accept landing tour bookings.
The important thing to remember is that just because one operator’s boat is booked out on the date you want, it does not mean you cannot book a seat on that date. There are 15 boats. As long as you are trying to book early in the year, you have lots of options. But do bear in mind that certain dates are much more popular than others.
Can I pre-book my place?
You can contact the 2020 Skellig Michael landing tour license holders directly if you want to but, in many cases, you will be instructed to check back when the licenses have been awarded and they have opened their online bookings.
If the boat operator normally accepts bookings through their web site booking engine, it would be a significant inconvenience for them to hold onto thousands of booking requests ahead of time as opposed to just releasing them all online on a first-come, first-served basis as is normally the case.