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Ireland: the island of Skellig Michael will remain closed to visitors until 2021

The coronavirus forced the OPW to give up any tourist opening of its island.
1 August 2020
Skellig Michael - Photo by Michael on Unsplash
Skellig Michael - Photo by Michael on Unsplash

Visitors will not be able to visit the island of Skellig Michael until 2021. This is unfortunate news, once again resulting from the coronavirus health crisis. The Irish Office of Public Works (OPW) has indeed confirmed that the site will not be able to reopen until it is secured and adapted to the new constraints of social distancing.

Skellig Michael takes a break… until 2021

All visits frozen, until the visits are secured

And another tourist site closed to visitors. COVID-19 will have put Ireland’s most popular attractions to rest.

Skellig Michael is a wild island located off the coast of County Kerry in Ireland. Inhabited by monks since the 7th century, the site has incredible remains, including a staircase of 618 steps, carved into the rock, and an exceptional monastery.

Already listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island had experienced a resurgence of interest for having served as the location for the filming of the latest Star Wars trilogy.

Unfortunately, the island has been closed to visitors since May 15, following the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been raging in Ireland and the rest of the world.

According to OPW Heritage Commissioner John McMahon, the island could not reopen its doors until 2021. There would be many difficulties for staff and visitors in providing safe visits related to COVID-19.

Regretfully therefore, we have to confirm that the Skellig Michael site will not reopen for the remainder of the 2020 season and we must instead plan for a resumption in 2021, when we will hopefully be able to accommodate visitors at the site again.

It is estimated that approximately 13,000 people visit this renowned island each year. To do this, boats carrying up to 12 people sail to the island in the summer. It is then possible to explore Skellig Michael, to walk up his stairs and discover his monastery. A unique place… unfortunately deserted this year by tourists.

It will thus be necessary to wait until 2021 to explore the wonders of this wild Irish island!


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