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Skellig Michael - World Heritage Site 

                                                    Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael has to be one of the most incredible and fascinating places in the world. Not only is it a place of breathtaking scenery rich in natural wonders, but it's also a place steeped in history. In the 6th century St. Fionan founded a monastic settlement on the Island. This incredible feat of engineering and leap of faith, took place on an island some 714 feet high, lying 8 miles off the south-west coast of Ireland and involved the construction of Stone built beehive cells, Retaining walls, two oratories, a church, cross slabs, two wells, Stone terraces,  flights of stone steps leading from their landing sights at sea level to the Monastery some 200 metres above and much more. The Monks are believed to have inhabited Skellig Michael until the 12 Century when they abandoned the site and moved to the mainland. Through the 600 years they spent there, they endured Faithfully the harshness of life as well as merciless raids from Viking invaders. In one such  raid it was recorded in the Annals of Ulster that in 823 AD the Monk Eitgal of Skelligs was captured by the Vikings and taken from the Island and the deaths of Blathmhac in 950 and Aed in 1044 were recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters.

It was GEORGE BERNARD SHAW who said,

......"But for the magic that takes you out, far out of this time and this world, there is Skellig Michael, ten miles off the Kerry  Coast, shooting straight up 700 feet out of the Atlantic. Whoever has not stood in the graveyards at the summit of that cliff, among the beehive dwellings and their beehive oratory, does not know Ireland through and through, It is the beauty of Ireland that has made us what we are."     From the "Beauty of Ireland" by G.B.S

After the monks abandoned Skellig Michael, the Island and its monastery became a place of pilgrimage from around the 16th Century onwards. Large numbers of Pilgrims came and performed the way of the Cross from the Landing place up to the monastery. This also led to the "Skellig Lists" where young couples voyages to Skelligs to marry during lent, a time when marriage could not take place on the mainland but was permitted on Skellig Michael.

Between 1820 and 1826, two Lighthouses were built on Skellig Michael. In the space of a few short Years, the Irish Lights completed the monumental task of building the Pier on Skelligs that we use today, the Long roadway with outer walling and two Lighthouses which were lit for the first time on December 1826. This achievement in its own right is a testimony to the men who built the lighthouses and to the men and their families who manned them there after. This Chapter in the history of Skellig Michael, is but one of many spanning back across the centuries telling stories which I have only barely touched upon.

Skellig Michael in its entirety became a World Heritage Site in 1996, a designation handed down by UNESCO who state that all time periods of a World Heritage Site must be Equally Respected and this is very true for Skelligs. The importance of the lighthouse era and the maritime history connected with it along with the phases of pilgrimages to the Island and the tradition of the local communities with long standing connections to the Island, is equally as important and deserves equal recognition as that of the Monastic era on Skellig Michael. 

Today visitors from around the world come to visit Skellig Michael, following in the footsteps of so many in past centuries before them. Skelligs is a special place of beauty and wonder and a place that deserves our utmost respect and appreciation. So come and visit Skelligs for your selves and take that step back in time through centuries or our Irish history and our World Heritage.




The Fatal Echo By Frank Donaldson.

A World War II Air crash Off South-West Ireland.

The true story of how the crew of an American Navy Aircraft flew to their deaths at Skellig Rock, off the coast of south-west Ireland, on the night of 27 February 1944. 'The glow from the altimeter indicated 700'. The depth charges and flares were ready. It was 01.02 hours and visibility was still poor' One minute later the aircraft struck the highest point of Skellig Michael.

Contact :The Warplane Research Group of Ireland..


Skellig Boat Trips

Joe Roddy & Sons

00 353 (087) 1209924

Email : ken@skelligstrips.com

Here you can see a view of Skellig Michael From the small Skelligs with thousands of Gannets Flying above.

Above you can see two gannets diving on a fish at Skelligs. These incredible birds can hit the water like arrows at high speed in order to chase and catch fish under the water.


 A view the Little Skelligs seen from the Great Skellig Michael.                      Joe Roddy & Sons


 Here you can see one of the Landing sites at Skellig Michael used by the Monks between the 6th and 12th Century. This landing site is not used today as there is a modern pier built which our boats use. If you look closely you can see the old steps that the monks used, carved into the rocks.


The Monastery on Skellig Michael                Joe Roddy & Sons




 Links :

For What To Do and See in our region have a look at the following website in your preferred language.

www.activeholidayskerry.co.uk ( English)

www.activeholidayskerry.net ( German)

www.activeholidayskerry.com ( French)

Email yves.clees@gmail.com (00353)086 3231564

More Skellig Michael Photos: http://www.skelligphoto.com/section315168.html


To Land and Explore the Island contact

Joe Roddy & Sons

Call / Text: 00 353 (087) 1209924

E-mail: ken@skelligstrips.com

Over 40 Years taking passengers to

Skellig Michael

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