Visiting Skellig Michael – Top Tips
Are you planning a trip to Skellig Michael? Visiting Skellig Michael is the trip of a lifetime! We have compiled a list of our top tips to help prepare you for your trip.
Book in Advance
The most important thing to remember when booking a trip to Skellig Michael is to book in advance. The Skellig Michael Landing Tour is a very popular tour and as the boats are limited to carrying 12 passengers per day it is advised to book your tickets early to avoid disappointment. The season usually opens mid-May and runs until the end of September and boat trips are of course weather permitting.
Prepare for a full day trip
The tour departs in the morning between 9:30AM and 10:30AM. It takes approximately 50 minutes to get to the island by boat once you leave the mainland. Once you are at the island you will begin your climb up the stone staircase that leads to the monastery which sits on the peak of Skellig Michael. This will include a climb of 618 stone steps. We advise to take a break when needed. You can take move to one side and sit down and when you feel you are able to, then you can continue your climb. Once you reach the top you can explore the 6 beehive huts that were built by the monks during their time on the island. You will then make your way back down the steps and return to your boat which will then circle around the islands before returning to the mainland.
It is important to view the safety film issued by OPW as this gives a good introduction as to what to expect when you land on the island and how best to prepare for the climb up the steep stone staircase. If you have not seen the safety, don’t worry, the film is on display in The Skellig Experience Visitor Centre and this is a great place to visit before your trip so that you can learn the story of Skelligs before departing on your trip.
Be prepared for all seasons
As this is Ireland, we advise you to prepare to experience all four seasons in one day. It is advised to bring a small backpack so that your items are secure and protected from rain during your trip. Ensure that you have a light waterproof rain jacket which you can put in your backpack if needed. It is also advised to bring plenty of water, sun cream, a packed lunch and appropriate footwear for the trip. If booking your tour with The Skellig Experience Visitor Centre, the restaurant will be open on the morning of your tour where you can purchase food and drinks for your tour. The captain will provide waterproof gear if required.
Once you arrive on the island you will begin the climb. There are OPW guides throughout the island and these guides will provide further information at different points during the climb. It is important to adhere to all safety advice provided by both the guides on Skellig Michael and the captain onboard the boat.
It is important to remember that as the island is located 8 miles out in the Atlantic. Therefore these boat trips are very heavily dependent on weather. Therefore, the Skellig Michael Landing Tours can sometimes get cancelled lastminute. Depending on the operator you are booked with you may be able to transfer to a Skellig Michael Sea Cruise around the island. The cruise will give you up close views of both islands while remaining on the boat. Some operators may provide the option to transfer to the following date however due to the popularity of these tours they may not have availability.
There is no way of determining the best months to book your tour as the weather is so unpredictable. If staying in the area for a few days is an option for you then we would advise doing so as that way if your tour is cancelled you may be able to find availability a day or two later.
The Puffins are one of the most famous birds associated with Skellig. Are you hoping to see Puffins during your boat trip to Skellig Michael? Then the best time to book a tour is from May to the end of July! The Puffins begin departing Skellig Michael in the first 2 weeks of August as this is when they migrate South Africa for the winter months. They return to the Skellig Islands during April each year. The Puffins are recognised by there black back, white underbody and parrot like multi coloured bill. They are also known as “clowns of the sea”.
Be sure to sign up to the waiting list! If no tickets are available sign up to our waiting list. We try our very best to accommodate the people on our waiting list as much as possible. Last minute cancellations can sometimes occur and when this happens we will be in contact to offer you the available seats.
Stay in the local Area
On some occasions if the weather is poor then the boat departure time can change. The departure time could be moved slightly earlier/ later depending on the sea conditions. It is best to stay in the local area the evening prior to your tour as this provides you with more time on the morning of departure. Valentia Island and the surrounding Skellig Coast region boasts incredible scenery. We recommend spending a night in this quaint part of the countryside, you won’t regret it!
There is also so much to see and do! From the most spectacular cliffs in Kerry to the tastiest Skellig Chocolate. There is something for everyone!
If you are looking for local accommodation providers please click here.
This is the trip of a lifetime and is definitely an experience to remember. There is a lot of incredible history to learn about this beautiful island. Witness the sheer beauty of the islands, the birdlife and the breath-taking scenery that surrounds the Skellig Coast region. Experience the Extraordinary!
To book your tour click here.