The Skellig Islands of Skellig Michael and Small Skellig stand alone in the Atlantic Ocean some 12km southwest of Valentia Island, Kerry. From any angle or from any vantage point on the Ring of Kerry, they are a spectacular vision – pinnacles on the edge of the world that have magnetised views throughout history and beyond. The earliest reference in history to the Skellig Islands dates back to 600AD. During the time of The Penal Laws, Skellig Michael and Little Skellig became a haven for many Catholics whose beliefs were being suppressed.
The largest of the Skelligs is Skellig Michael (Skeilg Mhichil) and was home to one of the earliest monastic settlements in Ireland. They lived simple lives in stone beehive shaped huts. Every morning they would descend the 670 steps and fish for the days breakfast, followed by a day of praying the church, studying and tending to their gardens.
The monks left Skellig Michael in the 13th Century and the island became a place of pilgrimage. Today, Skellig Michael is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to the second largest colony of puffin birds in the world. Most recently, the island became the spiritual home of the force due to its starring role as Luke Skywalker’s island sanctuary on the planet Ahch-To in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force awakens and Star Wards Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. The decision to film the biggest grossing missing in US Box Office history was made by Force Awakens Director JJ Abrams and his Production Designer Rick Carter.
To get to the Skellig Michael Islands from Muckross Hotel & Spa is a scenic hour-and-a-half drive to the Skellig Michael Landing Tour departing from the marina in Portmagee, Co. Kerry. After a 12km boat ride out in the Atlantic Ocean, you can get off the boat and explore the island. Landing on Skellig Michael is not permitted from mid-May to the end of September. Departure times are 8 am and 12:30 pm.
Our award-winning concierge team will happily arrange your chosen activities.
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