Visitor season to Skellig Michael delayed

The opening of Skellig Michael in Kerry for the summer season has been deferred by the Office of Public Works (OPW), the Government agency responsible for its upkeep and for the running of all national monuments.

In a statement, the OPW said, due to poor weather conditions recently, it had been unable to land members of staff on the island to make the necessary pre-season safety checks.

Skellig Michael, which has featured in Star Wars, was expected to be open to visitors from Saturday next, May 18. The new opening date has not been decided.

“Owing to poor weather and sea conditions right throughout March, April and early May, we have only been able to land our works team on the island very briefly to date,” said an OPW spokesman.

Normally, we need approximately two to three weeks to check Skellig Michael for winter storm damage, clear away any debris, provision staff quarters and prepare all visitor areas and the Monastic Monument for the public.

"However, pre-season access this year has been very problematic and we now have a significant backlog of work to deal with.”

OPW workmen were able to access the island for a number of days late last week and worked over the weekend to make the necessary preparations.

"However, with poor weather forecast for the next few days, OPW has been frustrated in their efforts to go back to the Island for the present and, while conditions may improve late in the week, it is clear that the scheduled opening date next Saturday has to be deferred," a statement said.

“Skellig Michael is an extremely challenging environment and the safety of our visitors must remain a priority.

"We are working as rapidly as the conditions allow and will hope to announce a new date as soon as possible, once the current spell of poor weather has passed and the necessary safety preparations are fully completed.”

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