Pontoons to allow safer boat access to Skellig Michael

Mon, Nov 28, 2011, 00:00

PONTOONS ARE to be installed at Portmagee, Co Kerry, to make it easier to access ferry boats to Skellig Michael, a Unesco world heritage site, it has been confirmed.

A safety audit of the site last year criticised the pier facilities at Portmagee, which is the main departure point for an average 10,000 people a year to Skellig Michael.

It found there was a risk of slipping on the steep concrete steps leading to the boats at Portmagee.

At the weekend Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said he had allocated €200,000 in tourism funding from the Fáilte Ireland Tourism Capital Improvement Programme for new landing facilities for tourists at Portmagee.

The new pontoons will be closer to the fishing village.

They will be ringfenced for Office of Public Works-licensed Skellig Michael boats, as well as vessels involved in sea safaris and angling.

This autumn the guide service on Skellig Michael, a medieval monastic island, was extended to try to compensate for a dramatic fall in numbers.

Guides live on the island during the official season, which now begins around the last week of May and ends towards the end of September.