Skellig Michael World Heritage Site
The magnificent Skellig Islands lie 8 miles (12 km) off the coast of Portmagee on the Ring of Kerry. Rising majestically from the sea, Skellig Michael towers 714ft. (218 metres) above sea level. On the summit of this awe-inspiring rock you will find a remarkably well preserved sixth century monastic settlement. On the spectacular Small Skelligs 23,000 pairs of gannet nest on every available ledge making it the second largest gannet colony in the world.
The boats departs daily from Portmagee pier at approximately 10:00am, weather permitting. The boat trip to the Skelligs takes 45 minutes and you have between 2 -2. 30 minutes on the rock. A visit to the monastery will entail a climb on 618 steps, ascending over 600 ft. (180 metres). The boats stop for a while at the Little Skelligs to allow you to view the bird colony and seals. The return boat trip lasts a further 45 minutes and you are back in Portmagee at around 3 o' clock.
It is advisable to book at least 2 days in advance. You should ensure that you book with a boatman who has a permit to land on the island.
The Skellig Experience
This is located beside the bridge at Portmagee and Valentia Island on the Ring of Kerry.
The skellig experience heritage centre tells the story of the Skellig rocks.
There are four themes covered in the exhibition:
- The history and archaeology of Skellig Michael's Early Christian monastery.
- The sea birds who are such a part of the Skelligs, their habitat and their world wide travels.
- The lighthouses which have given 161 years of service to mariners.
- The underwater Skellig, which has colour and magic equal to any sea in the world.
These themes are explored using graphics, models, exhibition items, reconstruction and sound of sea birds and lighthouse keeper ship-to-shore communication.