Sceilig Mhíchíl to re-open to visitors in May following storm damage

Visitors will be able to access Sceilig Mhíchíl in time for the start of the official visitor season on May 14, the OPW has confirmed. Sceilig Beag, as seen from Sceilig Mhichíl. Photo by Marian O'FlahertyAn assessment carried out at the UNESCO World Heritage Site revealed that significant damage to the Lighthouse Road was caused primarily by rockfall from above. A length of wall along the main path leading from the landing pier to the south steps, known as Lighthouse Road, suffered significant damage, which was discovered earlier this month. A piece of wall at Cross Cove was also swept away but the monastery itself is undamaged. The displacement of material was caused by excessive salt from sea spray that caused a significant amount of vegetation on the island to die back, rendering the soil unstable. This, coupled with torrential and sustained winter rain led rock material on higher slopes to loosen, cascading onto the Lighthouse Road below. The OPW says the damage is even more extensive than was first thought with evidence of a second area of walling being severely compromised. Staff will now return to the island and access the upper slopes by rope to see if there is any further dangerous material. The OPW will devise a repair project for the wall that has to be approved by the Minister. It says the island remains in an ‘extremely dangerous condition’. However, it says the island will be open to visitors again in May.