Saints Journeys: Skellig Michael Monastic Site

Click on "More Options" (above left) for a larger view of the map

For 600 years, Skellig Michael (Sceilig MhichĂ­l in Irish Gaelic, meaning Michael's rock) was an important center of monastic life for Irish Christian monks. An Irish Celtic monastery situated almost at the summit of the 755 foot high rock, it was built in the 7th Century. Legend associates its founding with St. Fionan. The monastery survived a number of Viking raids in the 9th Century, notably in 823 A.D. It was later significantly expanded with a new chapel built around 1000 A.D. The community at Skellig Michael was never large - probably 12 monks and an abbot. Some time in the 12th Century, the monks abandoned Skellig Michael and moved to the Augustinian Monastery at Ballinskelligs in County Kerry on the mainland.

To get to Skellig Michael requires a boat ride from the Kerry Coast. Many boats leave Portmagee on the County Kerry coast for Skellig Michael some 11.1 miles away. It is important to pre-book your boat trip before arriving in Portmagee as the trip is very popular. Lastly, it is suggested that you also call ahead for a weather forecast as oftentimes the seas are too rough to land on Skellig MMichael. Should you be so lucky as to land on the island, you will be richly rewarded. Visited on April 28, 2008.

Additional photos.

Visitors Information

Visitors information for Skellig Michael may be found at the Heritage Ireland website. General tourist information for County Kerry in which Portmagee resides area may be found on the Discover Kerry website.


Please check local road conditions for possible changes prior to venturing forth on this journey. A helpful resource for changes and possible trip interruptions if you are travelling in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland is the AA-UK Route Planner. Another map source that this website uses and that may be useful to you on your journeys is Streetmap UK.

Top of Page