« BackOPW expects small falls of stones on Skellig Michael but no major rockfall

The Office of Public Works expects small falls of stones on Skellig Michael to continue, but not any major rockfall like the two that have occurred so far this year.

Skelligs Rock Fall 2

This is despite an archaeologist saying he fears there could be another major rock slide.

Archaeologist Michael Gibbons, who’s been visiting Skellig Michael for past 30 years, says he never saw the burn back of vegetation so bad.

He fears there could be another major rockfall like the two that happened so far this year, and is calling on the OPW to publish safety reports.

The OPW says the main cause of these was the dieback of vegetation on key slopes above the Lighthouse Road.

It says winter storms and sea salt exposure made the slopes vulnerable to the effects of heavy rain and wind, causing a substantial amount of the underlying soil, stones, and rocks to fall.

Puffins are also dislodging other material, resulting in occasional small falls of loose soils, grit, and small stones.

The OPW says these small falls are not a serious health and safety risk and are more of a nuisance, but it’s warning tourists and constructing a barrier to prevent further material from falling onto the road.

The authority has also developed a plan to regenerate vegetation growth where the rockfalls occurred by transplanting sea campion.

Once the vegetation has returned, the OPW says further landslips will be less likely to occur.