Getting there & away
Because of concerns for the fragility of Skellig Michael there are limits on how many people can visit on the same day. There are 15 boats licensed to carry no more than 12 passengers each, so there should never be more than 180 people there at any one time. Because of these limits, it’s wise to book ahead in July and August, bearing in mind that if the weather’s bad the boats may not sail. Trips usually start running around Easter, but high seas and bad weather can put them off until May.
Boats leave around 10am and return at 3pm. You can depart from Portmagee (and even Caherciveen), Ballinskelligs or Derrynane. The boat owners try to restrict you to two hours on the island, which is the bare minimum, on a good day, to see the monastery, look at the birds and have a picnic. Check that your boat does actually land on Skellig Michael. The crossing takes about 1½ hours from Portmagee, one hour from Ballinskelligs and 1¾ hours from Derrynane (around €40 return from all places).
Local pubs and B&Bs will point you in the direction of operators, including:
Casey’s (947 2437; Caherciveen)
Des Lavelle (947 6124; Portmagee)
Eoin Walsh (947 6327; Valentia Island)
John O’Shea (087-670 5121; Caherdaniel)
Sea Quest (947 6214; Reenard Point)
Skellig Cruise (947 9182; Ballinskelligs)