Outlands and Odysseys – Getting To Skellig Michael

Outlands and Odysseys – Skellig Michael

FInding Skellig Michael and the first temple of the Jedis

The boat ride to Skellig Michael can be a little rough.

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What is a place that is a setting for a very popular science fiction movie, is a UNESCO world heritage site, and has puffins? I know what you are thinking. You’re saying to yourself, “No way, there is no place that is that cool, that awesome!”  Well, dear…you would be wrong! We just came back from a place this amazing; Skellig Michael off the southwestern coast of Ireland. If you haven’t heard of it before, it will now be on your bucket list, guaranteed.

Skellig Michael And The First Jedi Temple

Okay, let’s break it down. First, check this out, and you will see that the production of “The Force Awakens” did indeed use Skellig Island as a pivotal scene. Star Wars fans everywhere were asking about this new planet. Then, to give the island even more notoriety, “The Last Jedi” comes along showing off even more of this amazing, craggy island. We did not really know this until we started researching our trip. We were going anyway, but there was one American family that made the trip just because they were fans. Dad had even brought his Luke Skywalker costume for Mom to take photos of him. Humorous, maybe, but you’ve got to give them props for following their dreams.

Skellig Michael – UNESCO World Heritage Site

Second, UNESCO. Inscribed due to the remoteness and harshness of life on such an island, Skellig Michael is famous for its 7th century monastery that was built clinging to its side. To reach the site, you must walk up over 600 slippery slate stairs. I can’t imagine dragging my groceries up that high. We did make the climb, and it was every bit as scary and exhilarating as I could have expected it to be. The mainland is a good hour and half away by motor boat, monks back in the day would have had to spend half a day on a bobbing, leaking sailboat. Obviously, this wasn’t a daily occurrence for them so they had to make the most out of what they had on the island.

Puffin Sanctuary

Skellig Michael Last Jedi island

Puffins or porg? Come to Skellig Michael and see them for your self!

Lastly, a surprise for us. We knew that both of the Skellig islands were home to plenty of birds, including puffins. What we didn’t know is how close we would actually get to see the puffins in their natural habitat and how many of these cute little birds there would be on Skellig Michael. According to one of the three guides on the island that day, the puffins on the stairs’ side of the island are used to seeing humans, but they aren’t on the other side. What that meant for us was the opportunity for some great bird watching and a few fantastic photos. The puffins are so numerous and so bold that hikers often need to stop and wait for them to cross the path in front of them. In fact, these adorable creatures make an appearance in The Last Jedi as the cute and loveable species known as the porg. It was easier for the film makers to turn the numerous puffin into porg through cgi then try to keep them out of the scene.

Getting to Skellig Michael

A trip to Skellig Michael isn’t easy. It is only accessible by boat (unless you are Luke Skywalker or Rey) and only during the summer months. You’re fist stop for planning is with Heritage Ireland whose website provides all of the information visitors must follow to have a successful visit. Skellig Michael boat operator are approved annually and the new list sometimes isn’t available until late March or April. Stay on top of it and send lots of emails to as many boat tour companies as are on the list. You can’t start planning to early but this little hiccup can be a bit of a stumble.

Speaking of stumbling, things to bring along on your trip to Skellig Michael include walking sticks if you are unsteady on stairs (did we mention the 600 stairs to the top?). Also, rain gear and a good windbreaker are a must. Of course, plenty of water and a small snack are also a good idea as you’ll be on the island for about two hours. Finally, you must bring a camera. Of course, the puffins are so close that some great shots can be made using just a smart phone camera but this is a once in a lifetime experience so try and do better than that!

Check out some of these hotels for the perfect place to stay near Skellig Michael.

Ireland is the best place to take a week or two and explore, if you’re interested check out this Ireland Itinerary.

Have you been to Skelling Michael?  What was the reason you went?

Pin Skellig Michael for later!

Off the southwestern coast of Ireland lays an island that should be on your bucket list. From shooting a scene from Star Wars to housing an ancient sect of Christians, Skellig Michael is a must see. Click here to watch the video!...........................Skellig Michael tours | Skellig Michael boat | The Force Awakens | Ireland guide | What to do in Ireland | What to see in Ireland |

Off the southwestern coast of Ireland lays an island that should be on your bucket list. From shooting a scene from Star Wars to housing an ancient sect of Christians, Skellig Michael is a must see. Click here to watch the video!...........................Skellig Michael tours | Skellig Michael boat | The Force Awakens | Ireland guide | What to do in Ireland | What to see in Ireland | Off the southwestern coast of Ireland lays an island that should be on your bucket list. From shooting a scene from Star Wars to housing an ancient sect of Christians, Skellig Michael is a must see. Click here to watch the video!...........................Skellig Michael tours | Skellig Michael boat | The Force Awakens | Ireland guide | What to do in Ireland | What to see in Ireland |

 

 

42 Comments

  1. Another amazing adventure Corinne! I think I need another trip back to Ireland, one of my favorite places.

  2. Yes, the best part of the trip puffins! I am obsessed with them since I saw them on Iceland. We saw them on a cliff (not like you gus that had them basically next to you). I know people who have traveled to over 100 countries and they Skelling Michael is one of the most stunning places they have seen in the world. #wkendtravelinspiration

  3. I remember watching the scene in The Force Awakens that was filmed on Skellig Michael and thinking how utterly, fantastically scenic that place looked. Once I got home, I immediately Googled where the filming took place. How long were you on the island? Just a few hours? I’d love to get that close to the puffins but would prefer that absolutely zero birds poop on me. Great video!

  4. I have never heard of Skellig Michael! It looks wonderful. I’ve seen lots of puffins before, but they endear themselves just that little bit more every time.

  5. I’ve not been to Skelling Michael but I have seen some photos and it looks like a really interesting and picturesque place to visit. The rounded domes of those dry wall-style buildings are fascinating!

  6. wow what a choice for a location to build a monastery. It looks like it was a rough life out there in what I imagine not always the finest weather conditions. Nice that you found this gem and took a visit. Must have been a great experience. Nice movie, very informative.

  7. Ah yes I recognise the island from Star Wars. It looks so beautiful and peaceful – I can see why they chose to build a monastery there – getting away from it all for sure! And the puffins are adorable!

  8. I have to admit I’ve never heard of this place but it is gorgeous! The scenery is amazing and i was hooked from the first paragraph you described it. Would love to give the 600 stairs a try haha.

  9. I’ve never heard of this Island but it seems amazing. I’ve never watched Star Wars so I probably wouldn’t catch the reference, but regardless I’d enjoy it there. So pretty.

  10. Ireland is one of our favorite places but we have never been Skellig Michael. Now we have to go! It looks fantastic!

  11. What a unique and fascinating site! I’ve read about the area before but this was the first time I’ve seen some of these angles and video. Really beautiful and to me, so mysterious.

    1. Alexa, I’m sorry to hear you didn’t get here. It is extremely difficult to do so, and it’s a bit out of the way. Ireland is fantastic as a whole, though, so I’m confident you had a fantastic time.

  12. I just saw the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie and had your post in my mind. Since the director couldn’t get rid of the puffins during filming, they used visual effects to disguise them as Porg, a fictional native species on Luke Skywalkers island.

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