OPW asked to reconsider Skellig Michael decision

The monastic Island, Skellig Michael founded in the 7th century, for 600 years the island was a centre of monastic life for Irish Christian monks. The Celtic monastery, which is situated almost at the summit of the 230-metre-high rock became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is one of Europe's better known but least accessible monasteries.Photo:Valerie O'Sullivan

The OPW has been asked to re-examine its decision not to open Skellig Michael to visitors until 2021. 

A decision has been made that the world heritage site will not re-open to visitors in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns.

Cllr Michael Cahill says that with the proposed re-opening of B&Bs and hotel accommodation on July 20th, and with other positive improvements in the situation, the Skellig boatmen should also be allowed to restart their season. 

He said that while all HSE guidelines should be followed, it should also be possible to assess any dangers that exist and see if it’s possible for Skellig boat trips to restart. 

Cllr Cahill said that while he understands concerns about touch and clutch requirements on boats, the same exists for other public transport and passengers on a boat will be in a far less confined space. 

He said that with a little ingenuity, a staggered boat schedule and oversight from the OPW it should be possible to overcome any issues. 

Cllr Cahill pointed out that there are many families depending on the revenue not only from the boats, but also from B&Bs, guesthouses, restaurants and shops.