Here’s a quick look at my thoughts on my visit to Skellig Michael:
Firstly, it was gorgeous… especially with a clear day like we had. The views of the ocean, Little Skellig island, sea birds, dolphins, seals, and the construction of the stone beehive huts and churches were all above expectation.
The 1,000+ year old steps built by the monks were scary, and a tumble could be deadly, but I found them quite manageable. One woman who was afraid of heights climbed them on her hands and knees… once she was within the monastery walls, she seemed to forget that she had crawled a few hundred feet to get there.
We had about two hours on the island itself, which was enough to see everything, but I certainly would have liked to stay much longer… on a bad weather day, I can imagine many folks would be ready to leave sooner… there’s not much shelter, and, no, public toilets are not available on the island.
I underestimated the boat trip. Although the crossing varies depending on where you launch from and which boat you take, my trip clocked in at 50 minutes on “moderate” seas. The skipper told us the seas were about a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 (they sail up to a 7, but he said they warn people that it will be a “very scary trip” when the seas are that rough). A 3 was enough for me to feel nauseous for about half the trip. I didn’t vomit, but I couldn’t say the same for the other people on the boat. The trip back from the island was a bit calmer.
For those who prefer staying on shore, a visit to the Skellig Experience on Valencia Island near Portmagee gives a good look at the history and wildlife of the islands (Skellig Michael and Little Skellig). From there, you can also take a boat trip around the islands… they do not stop on Skellig Michael.