Skellig Boat Trip Options
Where is Skellig Michael in Ireland?
The two Skellig Islands (Michael/Mor and Beag) are 12km (8 miles) off the coast of Kerry in the south-west of Ireland. Skellig Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and both islands were made famous by the recent Star Wars films. As recently pointed out by Conde Nast Traveller they are difficult to get to and travel is very weather dependent. From Cork or Shannon airports travel by car to Killarney, and onto the Iveragh Peninsula along the N70 Ring of Kerry via Killorglin to Portmagee, the point where most boats depart from. If you would like a bus organised for a group from Cork contact us by email.
The boat trip takes 90 mins approx. and due to high demand needs to be pre-booked. But as it’s very weather dependent, decisions are made on the morning of the trip and you may be disappointed if landing on the island is not possible. There are Eco Tours around Skellig Michael and Skellig Beag a few times a day and these can be booked with us or directly. This allows you to enjoy the wide variety of birdlife on the islands and get great views of the area. These trips operate much more often than landing trips.email
The Boat Trip to Skellig
Getting to Skellig Michael is not for the faint-hearted and we don’t have a Millenium Falcon as in the Star Wars films The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017). The Skellig Islands are 12km (8 miles) off the coast of Kerry, Ireland from Portmagee or Ballinskelligs or Caherdaniel. Boat Operators get an annual permit from the OPW to land once a day on Skellig Michael during the season (1st May to 30 September), usually departing Portmagee at 9.30am.
Skellig Michael has no toilets so take a boat which has one. The trip can be rough, so eat a light breakfast rather than the full Irish. Landing on the rock is very weather dependent, as there can be a heavy swell. Wear layers of clothing with a raincoat, walking shoes and with socks which you can tuck your trousers into (the trip can be very windy).
Skellig Rock World Heritage Site – the facts!
Skellig Michael is a World Heritage Site, wilderness site and a designated Nature Reserve. There are a few points to be noted before you decide to go on the Rock rather than on an Eco Trip.
1 Opening Times are variable and depend on weather conditions. A visit is normally 2.5 hours, excluding the boat trip. So if you leave Portage at 9.30 am you will be back on the mainland by 2.30.
2 The landing stage is small and you need to jump onto the rock from the boat.
3 Beware of uneven slippery steps, a steep gradient and falling rocks – always stay on the path.
4 There are 618 steps up the side of the rock with a rise of over 600ft (180 meters). Fitness level 4 is needed as it is a very demanding climb. Any person with health issues should consider carefully their own physical limitations before exploring the rock and consider their own and other peoples safety.
5 We do not consider this a suitable place for children or animals to visit as it has a very steep gradient.
6 There are no Toilets or services of any kind on the rock, don’t attempt to go behind a rock – it’s not safe!
There are no guided tours of the Skellig’s but there are OPW guides who give you instruction on arrival and are the local experts and give freely of their knowledge if asked. Skellig Micheal was one of the earliest monastic settlements in Ireland where monks lived in Stone Beehive shaped huts.
There are similar huts on the mainland at Slea Head. The birds of Skellig are famous with the puffins in late spring and the gannets on Skellig Beog where there is one of the largest colonies in the world. The best way to see all birdlife on Skellig Beog take the Eco Tour, which takes you around both Skellig Islands for spectacular photography trip Skellig Eco Boat Trip
What to Bring on Eco Trip on Rock Visit
Backpack with water, energy snacks and chocolate. Watch out for gulls on the rock!
Wear walking shoes with socks and long trousers. We are layers and waterproofs as the rain can come on suddenly.
On the odd occasion, you may need sunscreen.
Put your phone or camera in a waterproof pouch so it does not get wet. Don’t eat too much until you get back on the mainland as they swell can cause upset tummy! Eco Boat Trip details here.
Best things to do in Skellig Ring area of Kerry
* On the Way to Portamagee – Kells Bay Garden, which has a wide range of tropical plants, a rope bridge and a lovely tea garden as well as great views of the bay (066 947 7975).
* On Valentia Island – The island is worth a day of travelling the narrow lanes if you have the time. The Skellig Experience ( €5/3), across the bridge from the mainland at Portmagee has an interpretive centre showing how the monks lived and tells of life on Skellig. If you are disappointed due to a cancelled trip or take the Eco Trip the centre is well worth a visit. Also on Valentia Island is the spectacular Bray Head Loop Walk and the Valentia Lighthouse where the local guide tells the story of this famous lighthouse. The Ice Cream shop on one of 2 roads along the island of Valentia makes its products from the cow’s milk in the nearby fields and tastes delicious. Skellig Eco Boat Trip
* The Skellig Ring Drive takes you on to Ballinskelligs before joining the Ring of Kerry again. Dont pass the nearby Skellig Chocolates where the cafe sells mostly chocolate products rather than sandwiches.
- Ballinskelligs has a long sandy beach, great for swimming.
- The Cill Rialaig Arts Centre has displays in summer, and pizzas made in the wood-fired outdoors oven ( 066947 9277)
Where to Stay near Skellig Boat Trips
The Moorings in Portage has a Bed and Breakfast with special offers of 2 nights and a boat trip. They also have a restaurant and its where Mark Hammil ( Luke Skywalker) pulled a pint of Guinness.https://www.moorings.ie/
We stayed at Valentia Island Campsite – a modern, friendly and well organised small site.
Have we left out any important information for visitors to Skellig Rock Boat Trips and Valentia Island? Enjoy and send us your best photos with the rocks in the background. For those who do not want to take the boat trip then pick a spot on the mainland for that magical photograph.
This information was compiled by ActivityDays.ie ( firstname.lastname@example.org).