Kerry’s Skellig Michael experiences significant rockfall

OPW is assessing threat to visitors following incident at Unesco world heritage site


A significant rockfall has occurred at Skellig Michael off the coast of Co Kerry. The Office of Public Works (OPW) confirmed an incident had taken place at the Unesco world heritage site.

The OPW said a large amount of material fell from upper slopes on to a roadway in an area vital to the OPW operation on the island.

A similar incident occurred on the island in 2015, when a large boulder broke free from a slope and landed in the middle of Lighthouse Road, which is used by visitors to Skellig Michael.

The latest rockfall was discovered last Friday, when OPW staff arrived at the island to carry out the usual pre-season maintenance works and safety checks before the island’s scheduled opening date of May 14th, 2017.

Bad weather

The OPW workers’ access to the site had been frustrated by bad weather last week.

A specialist safety contractor with the OPW has now begun a detailed examination of the slopes concerned to try to assess if there is any imminent danger of further landslides or rockfalls that would threaten the safety of visitors and workers on the island.

The OPW said it was too early at this stage to speculate about the possible effect of the rockfall on future visits to Skellig Michael and whether the island’s opening date would be pushed back.

No debris landed in the areas that are usually accessed by visitors.