Boat Trip To The Skellig Islands – 6 Things You Need To Know!

In 1910 George Bernard Shaw wrote of his visit to Skellig Michael, ‘The most fantastic and impossible rock in the world, Skellig Michael …an incredible, impossible, mad place…I tell you the thing does not belong to any world that you and I have lived and worked in: it is part of our dream world.’

George Bernard Shaw statue outside National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin city centre.

100 years later, in 2010 Shaw’s words described exactly how I felt when I disembarked on Skellig Michael. So for me there was no surprise when Lucas films chose this ‘dream world’ for their Star Wars movie.

The Weather Can Be Hit And Miss

Kerry; skellig Michael

On the day I visited it was a perfectly calm day in late spring with clear blue skies. Sean Gilhooley of Skelligs Boats told us how lucky we were to be able to disembark. Even on what seems like a calm day as you leave from Ballinskelligs Pier, it can be a very different seascape when you reach the Skellig Islands. Landing there is very much weather-dependent, even in the summer you are never guaranteed a sailing.

Always Book In Advance

View from Kerry to the Skellig Islands

It’s always best to ring in advance to book your place on a Skellig boat trip several of which leave from the piers at Caherdaniel, Portmagee and Ballinskelligs. The decision whether or not to go is often made by the skipper on the day of departure.

The boat trip out from Ballinskelligs Pier takes about 40 minutes on a fast boat and costs approximately €60 to €70. This may seem expensive but believe me it’s worth every penny to visit one of Ireland’s magical islands. On the day I travelled there were just eight on the boat and despite seasickness warnings, we all had sea legs.

The Wildlife & Scenery Are Breathtaking

Puffin on Skellig

Upon approaching Skellig you could immediately understand just why one would want to commune with God and nature here.

From the moment we disembarked you could hear the sea birds and see the first of the puffins. Puffins are summer visitors and arrive in early April to the first week in August. These gorgeous, comical birds nest and breed on the sea stacks and cliffs of Skellig Rock.

They even evict the rabbits from their burrows and use them as their new nesting place. Sometimes I thought they were dancing and diving to put on a show just for us.

Bring Your Hiking Boots

How many steps to the top?

The 600 steps to the top of the Skelligs to the beehive huts isn’t a difficult climb but it’s not for the fainthearted or those with a fear of heights. Whilst you don’t need to be super fit, it does help if you can climb a number of steps without stopping too much. I didn’t find it tricky and I took my time to inhale the fresh sea air and soak up the views across the Atlantic Ocean along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Bring A Picnic & Leave No Trace

Skellig Islands, two 2 uninhabited and rocky islets off the southwestern coast of Ireland

Upon reaching the summit you finally get to really experience the splendour of nature and simply just ‘be’! You are left to explore and discover the rocks for at-least 2 hours. There are no facilities on the island so bring a packed lunch, drink and please adapt the ‘Leave No Trace’ 7 principles while exploring the island;

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Be considerate of others
  3. Respect farm animals and wildlife
  4. Travel and camp on durable ground
  5. Leave what you find
  6. Dispose of waste properly
  7. Minimise the effects of fire

And of course don’t forget your camera!

The journey home from an amazing experience on the Skellig’s

Stay in Kerry As Long As Possible

If you are thinking of taking a boat trip to Skellig Michael stay for a few more additional days and explore Kerry – certainly one of the most beautiful and scenic counties in Ireland.

We have a selection of self-catering holiday homes and cottages dotted around Kerry. Our holiday homes and holiday homes are situated either within walking distance or driving distance of Ballinskelligs Pier and Portmagee Pier on Valentia Island.

Our holiday cottages and holiday homes in Kerry vary in style and location. Stay in the heart of Dingle town at Mask Apartments or escape the hustle and bustle at stay at one of our holiday cottages in Caherdaniel. From these seaside holiday cottages locations, you will be treated to magnificent countryside and sea views of the rugged Atlantic Ocean. Our selection of unique and idyllic holiday cottages are ideally situated so you can explore Skellig and the magical Kingdom of Kerry with ease.

Below you will find the distances and closest ferry ports from all of our holiday home location in County Kerry, which we hope will help you find your perfect holiday home in Kerry:


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