Skellig Michael – Puffin Paradise

Last Sunday, a day in which we experienced the most beautiful weather Ireland has seen in years, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Skellig Michael, an island located in the Atlantic Ocean, just 11 km off the West Coast of Ireland.

Skellig Michael, while not known to a lot of people (thankfully – that’s what makes it a hidden gem!), is in fact a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to one of the oldest Christian Monastic settlements in the world – founded sometime between the 6th and 8th century. It is also home to a vast range of wildlife, including Puffins, Seagulls and over 50,000 gannets! Not bad for a tiny island off the coast of Kerry!

Thanks to its status as a world heritage site, its obscure, remote and exposed location, only 13 boat licenses are granted each year and these tour operators are only allowed to run a single trip to Skellig Michael each day during the summer season. This means that only a lucky few get to see this magical place each year, and if you happen to land while the sun is shining, as we did, you can consider yourself truly blessed!

The boat trip to the island took about an hour, and we had nearly 3 hours to explore the island itself. This was the perfect length of time to climb the 618 slippery steps to the monastery that perches on top, to explore the expertly built beehive huts that the monks would have lived and slept in, which have remained intact and untouched for hundreds of years and to take in the spectacular views, scenery and abundant wildlife that is on offer.

It’s hard to believe such a piece of paradise, a tiny bit of history frozen in time, exists right on our doorstep. If you live in Ireland, I think you should do everything you can to visit this very special place. My only regret is that it took me 27 years to discover it.

puffins skellig michael

puffins ireland

DSC03008-001

puffins kissing

puffins flowers ireland

puffins skelligs

flying puffin

DSC03068

DSC02993

monastery grave stone crosses

monastery bee hives skellig

puffin island gannets

puffins ireland kerry

DSC03030

DSC03055

DSC03186

DSC03064

skellig michael steps

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Skellig Michael – Puffin Paradise

  1. What a great find! How far from the Aran Islands is this? They have been one of our favorite discoveries in Ireland to date. I wouldlike to reblog this at my site under Hidden Gems in my Travel page. Thanks for the insight and great photography! Sláinte!

  2. Almost got to go last summer, but my wife read about it and banned me from taking the kids there. She heard it is very steep and doesn’t like heights. Maybe we’ll go next year, when they’re teenagers.

  3. Great read and photos! We were fortunate to go to Skellig a few weeks later and lucked out with the same great weather. What a beautiful place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s