Skellig Michael is a small island off the coast of Ireland. It is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been. If you ever have the opportunity to travel to Ireland, this has to be at the top of your list of things to see.
What is Skellig Michael?
Skellig Michael is a rocky island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The island was inhabited by monks dating back to as early as the 6th century. These monks built stone staircases that start at the base of the island and reach all the way to the top where they constructed a small Irish Christian monastery. The grounds and structures can still be seen today in their original forms.
Star Wars Island
Skellig Michael was featured in two of the more recent Star Wars films and has become a popular tourist destination ever since. But you definitely don’t have to be a Luke Skywalker or Last Jedi fan to enjoy the Skellig islands. It is absolutely breathtaking!
On our trip to Ireland, visiting Skellig Michael was easily the highlight of our trip!
Where is Skellig Michael?
Skellig Michael is an island located about 8 miles off the coast of Kerry, Ireland. To get there, you have to go with a licensed company and take a small boat out to the island. If you get seasick, you’ll want to come prepared with Dramamine.
The sea can be a little choppy and some on our boat got sick. Don’t let the ride out discourage you though, it is more than worth it! You’ll also want to pack a poncho because it can rain while you’re out there as well.
Skellig Michael Tours
Ireland has limited the number of visitors to Skellig Island each day. Tours only operate between the months of May through September due to the weather.
The only way you are able to visit Skellig Michael is by booking a Skellig Michael landing tour with a boat tour company that is authorized to dock at the island. There are approximately 8 boats that are allowed to dock each day and each boat only carries 10 people.
IMPORTANT NOTE –There are several companies that offer tours around the island so you can see it up close from the water, but most boat operators are not able to drop you off. When you are booking a tour, be sure that it is a “landing tour”.
Because of the Star Wars movies, these tours have been known to fill up extremely fast. You will most likely need to book them months in advance. My advice would be to book your tour tickets the minute after you buy your plane tickets to Ireland.
We booked our tour with Skellig Islands but I’m sure the rest are great too. They all had comparable boats from what I could tell.
Almost every tour company leaves from the small town of Portmagee around 9 am. There are a few lodging options in Portmagee; however, we decided to stay in Killarney the night before. If you stay in Killarney, plan on giving yourself an additional 90 minutes in the morning to make the drive to Portmagee.
The boat ride from Portmagee to Skellig Michael takes about an hour and the ride can be choppy.
Once you arrive you will climb over 600 ancient stone steps to get to the top. There will be plenty of time to reach the top, so take your time and be careful.
The stones can be very slippery, especially if it has been raining. Along the way, you will see thousands of puffins flying around and nesting along the cliffs. This is one of the few places in the world where you will get to see these birds up close.
Once you get about two-thirds of the way up you will arrive at the spot where they filmed scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. From here the views are absolutely breathtaking!
After you catch your breath and enjoy the scenery, there’s one final staircase to climb to reach the top. At the top, you will find a few small houses and buildings constructed by the monks over a thousand years ago. It’s incredible to think about how they built these structures so long ago. It’s amazing they have survived hundreds of years in such a remote location.
Using Points To Offset The Cost
Flights – There is a great sweet spot using British Airways Avios miles from the East Coast to Ireland. You can fly there for only 26k miles roundtrip, plus taxes and fee. Most of the major banks transfer to British Airways, so it’s easy to earn points. Here’s a list of all of the transfer partners.
Hotels – Outside of Dublin, there aren’t any major hotel chains. So if you wanted to use points, you would have to book your lodging through your bank’s travel portal. The card_name gives you the best redemption rate. However, you can also use the card_name, card_name and card_name as well.
Tour – The only way to use points for this would be if the tour costs codes as travel on your credit card statement. If that’s true, you could use one of the Capital One cards above to “erase” the cost. It’s been a few years since we went, so I can’t remember how the charge codes.
If you’re thinking about using points to help cover the cost of your trip, here’s a link to the best public credit card offers currently available.
If Ireland is on your bucket list, you really need to make time to visit Skellig Michael. It takes a little time and planning but it is more than worth it! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
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