Skip to Content

Visit Skellig Michael: Guide And Tips

Skellig Michael and Little Skellig or The Skelligs/Skellig Islands are two small, rocky islands off the coast of County Kerry.

The smaller of the two islands, Little Skellig, is closed to the public and has always been wild and uninhabitable. It is the sanctuary of a protected colony of about 25,000 sea birds.

The bigger Skellig Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its well-preserved early Christian monastery stronghold. The island was also extensively featured in the latest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. 

Skellig Michael is one of the most unique places on earth, and also among the least accessible destinations. However, this rocky Island remains to be one of those ultimate bucket list places in Ireland.

Visit Skellig Michael: Guide And Tips

skellig michael guide and tips

If you want to learn more about Skellig Michael, read on to find out how to get there, what to see and other valuable tips to help you with your trip. 

About the Skellig Islands

Skellig Michael things to do in ireland

Skellig Michael – filming location for Star Wars films

The Skellig Islands have been mentioned in history since 600 AD. Skellig Michael became a shelter for many Catholics whose beliefs and liberties were being suppressed during the Penal Laws period. Skellig Michael (Great Skellig), the largest of the Skellig Islands, was the site of one of Ireland’s first monastic settlements.

St. Fionan’s monastery monks lived in stone beehive-shaped houses and maintained modest lives. The cottages, which are round on the outside but rectangular on the inside, were meticulously constructed to ensure that no rain fell between the stones.

The island became a pilgrimage site after the monks left in the thirteenth century. The closing sequence of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed on Skellig Michael, which was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

The following film in the franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, featured the island once more as a location. The Skellig Michael monastery, which represents an old Jedi temple, appears in the film.

Meanwhile, Little Skellig Island has no historical history other than the fact that it has never been inhabited.

The island has long been wild, consisting of a rocky outcrop that is particularly unsuitable to humans. Only nature reigns supreme on the island, which resembles a massive steep rock.

The island, which is much smaller than Skellig Michael, is recognized by its dark, almost black granite. It gives a spectacular perspective of its steep granite sides from a tour boat or shuttle. It’s now home to a big colony of seals, as well as seabirds like murres, gannets, and puffins. 

Tourists are urged not to approach the island too closely, as their boat may be pounded by the waves and crushed on the rocks. It is recommended to take the licensed shuttles to avoid any danger. The drivers of these boats are familiar with the area and are aware of its perils.

little skellig

Little Skellig from Skellig Michael

How to get to Skellig Michael 

The following is a list of the  locations from where you can board a boat to reach Skellig Michael:

Depending on where you boarded the shuttle and the weather, the journey can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The trip to Skellig Michael costs roughly 50€ or more per person, however the island is free to visit once you arrive. 


  • Eoin Walsh, Skellig Boat Trips, +353 87 2833522
  • Dermot Walsh +353 86 8339549
  • Lavelles +353 66 9476124
  • Dan & Donal McCrohan +353 87 2399741



From mid-May until the end-of-September, Skellig Michael is accessible to those who want to visit. The schedules differ depending on the companies that have been picked.

The trip usually begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. You are welcome to have your picnic here, but please don’t leave anything behind because it is a protected area.

Things To Do in Skellig Michael 

Skellig Michael

The island may be small, but here’s how you can make the most of your visit to Skellig Michael: 

  • Conquer the 600+ steps to the summit of Skellig Michael.  
  • Observe orange-billed puffins, cormorants, and the 70,000-strong gannet colony on Little Skellig – from your boat or Skellig Michael.  
  • Watch out for the seals, minke whales, and dolphins which can also be spotted from Skellig Michael.  
  • Visit the monastic village that dates as far back as the 6th century.  
  • See the Beehive Huts built by monks. 
  • Get up close to the Star Wars sites.  
  • Have a picnic! Most tours allow at least 2 hours to explore the site. Bring some food, water, and a mat, and have a picnic with the stunning views around you. 

Travel Tips When Going to Skellig Michael 

If you are planning to make that ultimate bucket list trip to Skellig Michael, here are some things to consider: 

  • Keep in mind that Skellig Michael boat tours are only available during certain times of the year, specifically between May 15 and October 2. Arrive before August 1st if you want to watch the puffins. 
  • Plan and purchase your tickets early. Tickets will sell out far in advance during the warm months of June through August. Contact the boat operators at least two months in advance of your trip to be safe. 
  • Landing on Skellig Michael is permitted only by certified boat operators. If you want to be safe and have a hassle-free journey, call one of these legitimate operators. 
  • If landing tickets for Skellig Michael are sold out, you can still experience the island and see it onboard a boat. Many boat companies offer tours that circle Skellig Michael and Little Skellig without ever setting foot on the island. 
  • Warm clothing for the boat voyage to and from the island is recommended. Shoes that are both comfortable and durable such as hiking or walking shoes are ideal. Sunglasses and sunscreen are a must.

    Skellig Michael

Hotels Near Skellig Michael

There’s no accommodation on the island and unless you’re an academics, researchers or archaelogist, the Office of Public Works that oversee the restoration of the island doesn’t tourists to stay overnight.

Royal Valentia Hotel

8.5 Very Good

Facilities: Free. parking, free Wi-Fi, restaurant and room service

Nearby Attractions: O’Connell, Memorial Church, Heatherhill Stables, Skellig Experience Centre, Mountain Geokaun, Fogher Cliffs

On Valentia Island, off Ireland’s west coast, the 18th-century Royal Valentia Hotel offers lodgings in a breathtaking environment. Regular boat cruises to the Skellig Islands are also available from the Hotel.

Rooms at the hotel have views of the island. Each en suite room provides tea and coffee making facilities as well as a television. The hotel has a spacious breakfast area, a games room, and a restaurant that serves both bar food and main courses.

Check the latest rates here. 

The Moorings Guesthouse & Seafood Restaurant

9.2 Superb

Facilities: Free parking, free Wi-Fi, restaurant and bar

Nearby Attractions: Skellig Experience Centre, Heatherhill Stables, Beehive Cells

The Moorings Guesthouse, which offers magnificent accommodations with private bathrooms. It overlooks Portmagee’s busy waterfront and is just a 30-second walk from the pier. Hot tubs and king-size beds are available in some of the rooms.

Moorings Restaurant offers weekly specialties, outstanding Irish beef, and locally grown vegetables in addition to freshly caught fish from Portmagee’s port. The on-site pub offers award-winning cuisine as well as live traditional Irish music and dance.

Check the latest rates here. 

[adinserter name=”Block 1″]

Glamping In Kerry - 7 Best Glamping Sites In Kerry - Ireland Travel Guides

Saturday 24th of July 2021

[…] Kerry is a haven for nature lovers. From the massive Killarney National Park and its lakes to the stunning Skelligs, glamping in Kerry is guaranteed to be filled with unforgettable […]

Best Islands In Ireland To Visit - Ireland Travel Guides

Saturday 24th of July 2021

[…] islands are both world-famous, but Skellig Michael is more known throughout the world of archaeology as the site of a well-preserved monastic outpost […]

Comments are closed.