The Skellig Islands lie roughly 12km off Bolus Head on the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry. They consist of two islands; little Skellig (Sceilig Bheag) and Skellig Michael (Sceilig Mhichíl). Jutting up out of the sea, their steep rocky peaks boast thriving bird colonies. The islands are famous for their sea-bird population size and for the species diversity, with Sceilig Bheag homing almost 30,000 pairs of Northern Gannet. The island is a great place to get a sighting of puffins, they nest on Skellig Michael between early April and the end of July. The waters off the islands are abundant with life also. Grey Seals are regularly seen, Minke Whales, Basking Sharks, Dolphins, Leatherback Turtles and Beaked Whales have also been spotted, in the seas off the islands.
The largest of the Skelligs is Skellig Michael (Sceilig Mhichil) and was home to one of the earliest monastic settlements in Ireland. Monks lived on the island from the 6th century to the 12th century. From around the 16th century the island became a place of pilgrimage and couples got married here during lent when it was forbidden to marry on the mainland. To visit the monastery which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will have to climb over 180metres (600ft) along 618 steps.
TheSkelligIslands has a wide range of quality accommodation to suit all budgets, ranging from hotels and bed & breakfasts to hostels and self catering accommodation. TheSkelligIslands has a nice variety of pubs which are well worth a visit on a warm summers evening or a cold winters one!.
For diners there are a selection of restaurantsThere are boat trips to the island from Portmagee, Balllinskelligs Derrynane, Cahirciveen and Valentia. Portmagee is generally regarded as the main departure point with the largest number of boats departing from here. Due to the fact that the steep steps to the monastery are dangerous in wet and windy conditions sailings are weather dependant. Boat trips run from April to October.