Skellig Michael to stay closed to visitors until 2021

The OPW plans to resume tours to the Co Kerry island in 2021.

Skellig Michael will remain closed to visitors in 2020 due to Covid-19 concerns, the Office for Public Works (OPW) has confirmed.

Following a review, officials found it would not be possible to safely resume trips to the Unesco world heritage site, which lies 12km off the Co Kerry coast.

The OPW plans to resume tours to the island in 2021.

The site, which became internationally renowned as a filming location for the latest Star Wars trilogy of films, was first closed on May 15th for staff and visitor safety amid the coronavirus outbreak.

John Mc Mahon, heritage commissioner at the OPW, said: "Having considered all of the issues, ... Skellig Michael cannot be made safe from Covid-19 for either visitors or staff.

"Regretfully therefore, we have to confirm that the Skellig Michael site will not reopen for the remainder of the 2020 season and we must instead plan for a resumption in 2021, when we will hopefully be able to accommodate visitors at the site again.”

The site normally becomes inaccessible by October as sea conditions worsen meaning the visitor season ends in September.

Visitors reach Skellig Michael on boats carrying a maximum of 12 people.

These vessels make one round trip a day and are necessarily small due to the size of the pier on the island.

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