A Tour of the World Heritage Island: Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael

Standing separately in the Atlantic Ocean, Skellig Michael located 12km from the southwest coast of Valentia Island, once known as the edge of the world. Christian monks of early ages inhabited there to bring them closer to god.

Eschewing civilization and cutting out an inadequate existence to acquire the holy union. The island is now known all across the world of the archaeology as a significant example of a well-conserved early Christian commune.


UNESCO has given the site a title of World heritage site in 1996. The location was used as a part of a shooting, as well, for the infamous star wars series- The last Jedi and Star wars– the force awakens

Skellig Michael Star Wars

The star wars series has been everyone’s favourite and there isn’t a sole soul who hasn’t seen this movie. The series has widely used striking location as a substitute for its outer space planets.

The scene representing Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine filmed in Tunisia. There’s a place called Tataouine for real. The battle of Hoth occurred on Norway’s glaciers- the redwood copses of Northern California depicted Endor’s forest moon.

In The Last Jedi movie, Luke’s refugee on Ahch-To shot mostly on the island of Skellig Michael. The production team didn’t only use the island’s exotic beauty; however, also customized the ethereal buildings constructed by its latter residents.


The first Jedi Shelter where Luke lives is an incredibly terrestrial structure kind called a clachan, an ancient stone residing that could still be found on Skellig Michael. These buildings called beehive huts, as well, and the ascetic Christian developed it

Priests who initially established the island in the 6-7th century. Albeit beehive huts could be discovered all over Europe and specifically western Ireland, the samples on Skellig Michael are possibly the most outstanding and secluded worldwide.

A beehive hut is portrayed by it’s round or square foot mark, corbeled vault rooftop, and dry stone walls. Former days didn’t have much timber for construction, and ancient builders used whatever stone they could find.

The walls of the huts are generally aren’t of a mortared roof and are unmortared masonry, presumably because of the lack of lime for making mortar and skills needed in order to use it.

Skellig Michael Monastery

Skellig Michael and clachans were consistently populated from the establishment of the monastery until 1200, after which the priests left the island because of the deteriorating climatic conditions.

Why was Skellig Michael Abandoned?

The reason’s not known as to why Skellig Michael was abandoned. However, the monastery is situated on Skellig Michael was persistently inhabited around the 12-13th century.

By the 13th century, the climate across Skellig Michael became colder and as a result, was more disposed to hurricanes. It was becoming too much for the monks to handle; hence they decided to move to a new place on County Kerry.

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What Does Skellig Michael Mean?

Skellig Michael in Irish means great Skellig. Skellig Michael undeniably has a distinguished appearance with its massive rock standing high, as high as if it’s touching the heaven. The word ‘Skellig’ from the Irish language could be translated to rock in the sea.

Skellig Michael

Why is Skellig Michael a World Heritage Site?

In 1996 Skellig Michael acknowledged as a World Heritage site by the United Nations. The island acquired the status by undergoing specific standards due to cultural importance and was labelled as having exceptional universal value and as well as being a distinct specimen of a piece of land demonstrating the concoction of an initial religious settlement.

Skelligs Lighthouse

Skellig Michael lighthouse is amongst the main sea light in the southwest coast and sited on the outer and greater of the Skellig rocks- 12.8 km from the closest mainland tip in the northeast of Puffin Island.

Legend has it that the Skellig rocks date back to the pre-Christian era, however, the accumulation of beehive inhabiting, techniques, and crosses are ascribed to Saint Finian in the 6th century.

Skellig Michael pics

Situated nearby the beehives is a primitive chapel and two wells devoted to Saint Michael. The monastery is placed on the south side of the 186.2m northeast tip at a stature of around 167.6m more than sea level.

On the south- climbing above 600 steps thru the south side of the rock, via Christ’s valley, encumber at 128.6m amid the two tips, in the foundation of Cashel placed the beehives.

The huge slanted and flat land above the monastery offers the feeling that the stones for the beehives and Cashel would’ve been mined from the northeastern peak.

The position of the monastic location by monks would have possibly stopped with the termination of abbeys by Henry VIII in 1538.

Consequently, the settlement appears to have been regularly visited by travellers either for great religious purposes or only to acquire peace. Presently, tons of travellers visit the Skellig Michael once in their lifetime, especially during summertime.


After its continuous service for over 160 years, on 22nd April 1987, Skellig Michael’s lighthouse was made unwatched electric. The lighthouse was then transformed into solar power in 22nd October 2001.

When Skelligs was mechanized in 1985, an effort was created to establish a cost-effective energy rotation device, however, troubles in regulating the rotation at the necessary speed couldn’t be resolved.

The speed of the solar motorized optic was consequently reduced. Additionally, the mercury bath wherein the lens revolves was prepared to lessen the hindrance on the lens.

This was a pretty tough operation, requiring compelling safety precautions, involving a proper examination on location by an officer from the Health & safety authority.

The systems are fuelled by a range of 48 Solamova 50 Watt solar panels set to charge two parallel linked 24 volts 2750 Ah lead-acid batteries via regulators.


The solar panel range was fixed on stainless steel frames situated on the ancient oil tank foundations at the entry to the station and knotted back on the rock face. Most solar panel than usual used to balance out the fact that this spot is not facing to the south.

To provide back up control, two diesel generators were maintained. The generators could be turned on remotely from Dun Laoghaire to charge the primary batteries, if necessary. They proffer recurrent conditioning heating for the abode and give domestic power for visiting workers.

Skellig Michael Tours

Casey’s tours provide two types of tours to reach Skellig Michael; landing tour and eco-tour. The eco-tour runs every day from Portmagee Marina. It surrounds both islands and allows you to be closer to the Skellig Michael and the small Skelligs to view both the historical sites & wildlife.

The landing tour leaves the port in the morning around 8.30 am and comes back in the afternoon around 2 pm. The arrival and departure timings vary contingent on the sea circumstances and available landing timings.


The tours are highly popular specifically during the busy season. It is recommended to you to book your tickets in advance.

Skellig Michael Steps

Hiking is undoubtedly an adventurous sport. There are more than 600 steps constructed into the rocks that direct right up to the monastery. It is advisable that you wear comfortable and good walking boots/ shoes.

And mind you that none of the steps has the support and it is a vertical climb. You need to be physically fit and have to be good with heights since people have died falling from the Skellig Michael. 

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