Further rockfall at Skellig Michael deems site deeply unsafe

Another serious rockfall has occurred at Skellig Michael, postponing the scheduled reopening of the island to visitors next Saturday. By Jerzy Strzelecki (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons   A large boulder fell from a slope, and landed on a path which would normally be taken by visitors to the base of the South Steps. At about 4.30 yesterday afternoon, a large boulder broke free from the slope above the Lighthouse Road on Skellig Michael, and landed in the middle of the roadway, directly on the path normally taken by visitors travelling up to the base of the South Steps, leading to the monastic site at the island’s summit. The Office of Public Works says that because of its large size and its position in the centre of the route, access along the road remains effectively blocked until the obstruction can be dealt with. They say the large size of the rock and the fact that it’s come down in a different location from the first rockfall earlier this year, are both deeply worrying symptoms that the upper slopes above the roadway remain highly unstable and unsafe. OPW staff and the Safety Contractor onsite are attempting to begin to assess the scale of the problem and the possible risks it creates. The OPW says the site is clearly deeply unsafe for both staff and visitors, and it’s clear it may have significant consequences for the planned reopening of the island to visitors this Saturday.