Located off the coast of Co Kerry in Ireland, Skellig Michael or the Great Skellig is one of two spectacular islands that are fast becoming tourist attractions. Its stunning location and breathtaking views compelled us to feature it in our list of 10 best offbeat places to visit in 2017. Not only is it one of the most astonishing places to visit in Ireland, it also has historic significance that not many are aware of. Here are some interesting facts about the Skellig Michael in Ireland.
Skellig Michael is home to Skellig Ring that features in Star Wars The Force Awakens
Skellig Michael island in Ireland
The return of Luke Skywalker is not the only exciting thing about Star Wars The Force Awakens. His marvelous new place of residence too caught the eye of many a traveler making it famous overnight. Office for Public Works (OPW) in Ireland has shown that Skellig Michael has enjoyed a boost in tourism since its appearance in scenes from Star Wars.
Efforts are on to restrict tourism on account of two major rock falls over the last 40 years
Approaching Skellig Michael
While tourism has been on the rise, the government has also become wary of the fact that it may not be good for the islands. Only a limited number of tourists are allowed during summer months only as the weather makes it dangerous for visitors during wet, windy and cold weather. Just around 4 boat licenses are granted every year to tour operators.
Skellig Michael was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996
Beautiful view from Skellig Michael
Thanks to its cultural significance and natural beauty, Skellig Michael was made a World Heritage Site in 1996 at its 20th session in Mexico. It was described as a “unique example of an early religious settlement”.
The winding pathway to the summit comprises 618 stone steps
Tourists visiting Skellig Michael during summer need to take a winding path which consists of 618 stone steps leading to the summit from where they can enjoy the stunning view you can see in the pictures.
Skellig island was once home to a community of reclusive monks
A Gaelic Christian monastery is believed to have been founded at Skellig Michael between the 6th and 8th century. It was inhabited by monks thereafter till the late 12th century after which the storm-prone and cold climate as well as the changing structure of the Irish Church led to the relocation of the monks. The beehive huts where the monks lived are still present here. Check out this video:
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