Skellig Michael – Puffin Paradise

Puffin Paradise - Ireland's West CoastLast Sunday, a day in which we experienced the most beautiful weather Ireland has seen in years, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Skellig Michael, an island located in the Atlantic Ocean, just 11 km off the West Coast of Ireland.

Skellig Michael, while not known to a lot of people (thankfully – that’s what makes it a hidden gem!), is in fact a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to one of the oldest Christian Monastic settlements in the world – founded sometime between the 6th and 8th century. It is also home to a vast range of wildlife, including Puffins, Seagulls and over 50,000 gannets! Not bad for a tiny island off the coast of Kerry!

Thanks to its status as a world heritage site, its obscure, remote and exposed location, only 13 boat licenses are granted each year and these tour operators are only allowed to run a single trip to Skellig Michael each day during the summer season. This means that only a lucky few get to see this magical place each year, and if you happen to land while the sun is shining, as we did, you can consider yourself truly blessed!

The boat trip to the island took about an hour, and we had nearly 3 hours to explore the island itself. This was the perfect length of time to climb the 618 slippery steps to the monastery that perches on top, to explore the expertly built beehive huts that the monks would have lived and slept in, which have remained intact and untouched for hundreds of years and to take in the spectacular views, scenery and abundant wildlife that is on offer.

It’s hard to believe such a piece of paradise, a tiny bit of history frozen in time, exists right on our doorstep. If you live in Ireland, I think you should do everything you can to visit this very special place. My only regret is that it took me 27 years to discover it.

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puffins kissing

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monastery grave stone crosses

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skellig michael steps

  • Glynis
    June 10, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    How envious am I of you right now! Beautiful just Beautiful!

  • fireofthephoenix
    June 11, 2013 at 4:33 am

    wow – that is stunning, can’t believe thats ireland and the weather is fab! def have to go there when home next x

  • Our Life In 3D
    June 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    What a great find! How far from the Aran Islands is this? They have been one of our favorite discoveries in Ireland to date. I wouldlike to reblog this at my site under Hidden Gems in my Travel page. Thanks for the insight and great photography! Sláinte!

  • Our Life In 3D
    June 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Reblogged this on OUR LIFE IN 3D and commented:
    Here is another Hidden Gem off the west coast of Ireland. This post combines some great photography of nature, Puffins and sea gulls along with the natural beauty of Ireland.

  • silkpurseproductions
    June 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    That place looks wonderful. It is being added to my wish list right now.

  • brickhousechick
    June 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    WOW! My husband is an avid bird watcher, I will be showing him these spectacular photos! Thanks for sharing.

  • SandyLand
    June 12, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Beautiful photos.

  • Josh Bourne Çapulcu
    June 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    great entry, loved the photos :)

  • Rich
    July 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Almost got to go last summer, but my wife read about it and banned me from taking the kids there. She heard it is very steep and doesn’t like heights. Maybe we’ll go next year, when they’re teenagers.

  • Weekly Photo Challenge – Carefree Puffins | Journalist on the run
    August 18, 2013 at 9:30 am

    […] island off the West coast of Ireland, which is home to 1,000′s of beautiful Puffins. I made a blog post at the time, but there were many more great photos of the carefree Puffins which I didn’t post […]

  • fromgreentoblue
    September 16, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Great read and photos! We were fortunate to go to Skellig a few weeks later and lucked out with the same great weather. What a beautiful place.

    • intrepidtraveller
      September 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      Hey – I’m SO happy you also were blessed with the weather. It really is one of the most beautiful places in the world…and so untouched! I enjoyed your photos, thanks for sharing.

      • fromgreentoblue
        September 16, 2013 at 7:40 pm

        Thanks! Definitely a spot I will go back to.

  • Day 3 – Skellig Michael | From Green to Blue
    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 am

    […] A very cool post about Skellig and some great photos thanks to […]

  • Valeriia
    January 10, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Gosh, they are soooo cute! What lense did you use to take them?

    • Janet newenham
      January 10, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Just a point and shoot…I don’t even own a DSLR :-)