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3 Reasons to Visit Skellig Michael that have Nothing to do with Star Wars!

With December’s release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, we have no doubt that there will be a predictable influx of people interested in visiting the stunning Skellig Michael island in order to connect with Rey, Luke, and the Star Wars legend in general. Google is aflutter with people searching for “Star Wars Kerry Island?” and “what’s the Irish island where star wars was filmed?”

However, there are many great reasons to visit Skellig Michael that have nothing whatsoever to do with Star Wars, and we’d like to sing the praises of this striking little island, hopefully teaching readers one or two things they don’t already know.

You probably clicked on this article because you’re interested in visiting Skellig Michael, and we hope we can give you a few more reasons to visit! And if we do inspire you to explore Ireland with Overland, please consider our Small Group Tours of Ireland and our Self Drive Tours of Ireland. If you have any questions whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Visit the Ancient Monastic Site

Even with modern boats and technology, it is still difficult to reach Skellig Michael — this makes it all the more impressive that monks settled there as early as the 6th century AD. It’s also impressive that they built the dry-stone walls and buildings that still stand there to this day, and that many of these structures were probably built in the early 11thcentury. The fact that the monastery is still in such incredible condition is largely due to the quality of the craftsmanship and how difficult the island has been to visit for centuries. In fact, tourists only began to visit Skellig Michael semi-regularly in the 1970s. 

Small Island, Epic Scenery

Skellig Michael may be a small island in the scheme of things, but its scenery and vistas are far from small! The only views better than looking up at the mountainous island from the water are the views from atop the island, looking out at the ocean, Little Skellig (the small sister island nearby), and the rolling hills along the Kerry coastline. Everything looks better from a height and the monastic site at Skellig Michael is 600 feet above sea level, giving you unparalleled views of this remote, beautiful part of Ireland. 

By the time you’ve climbed the 600+ stone steps up to the top of the island, looked out at the unforgettable views, and had time to reflect on the mysterious monks who managed to live (and flourish) in such a wild place that is so difficult reach and inhabit, you’ll see why people have been visiting the island and creating lifelong memories for a long time before Star Wars made Skellig Michael the perfect pilgrimage for movie fans.

Meet Skellig Michael’s Most Charming Residents

In springtime, Skellig Michael is home to a bustling population of puffins who roost there. They breed and rear their young on the island, taking advantage of the rich Atlantic waters and the lack of natural predators on the isolated island. You don’t need to be an ornithologist to appreciate the puffins on Skellig Michael; they are charming birds and it is quite the spectacle to see them out in their thousands. And if puffins weren’t charming enough, there is also an impressive population of gannets on Little Skellig, the nearby island. In fact, this is the second-largest population of northern gannets in the world. Gannets are quite large (a wingspan of six feet), so it’s an incredible, mind-bending spectacle to look out at such unfathomable numbers of gannets in the sky.

Puffins on Skellig Michael

Planning your Trip to Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael was one of Ireland’s many treasures long before Star Wars was filmed there. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is protected and, as such, there are a limited number of visits, with only 15 boat operators given exclusive rights to bring guests to the island. Overland Ireland is one of a select number of Ireland tour companies working with these boat operators to ensure we can always bring our guests to Skellig Michael. Our visit to Skellig Michael is part of our wider Ireland to Island Tour from Dublin and it’s an incredible adventure along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and beyond. 

We know that a trip of a lifetime to Ireland takes a lot of planning and deliberation, so we thought we’d help anyone out who is thinking (or just daydreaming) about visiting Ireland and the incredible island of Skellig Michael. We’re helping out by creating a collection of articles and guides written exclusively for anyone who signs up. This isn’t a hard sell — just a collection of useful (and fun) email guides about Ireland.

If this sounds like it might be useful or interesting to you, then please sign up today using the form below. And if you have any questions for us whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Start planning and researching your ultimate Ireland and Skellig Michael adventure with a little help from Overland Ireland!

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