New mooring facilities for Skellig
Pontoons are to be installed to make it easier to access the ferry boats to the Skellig Michael, Unesco World Heritage Site it has been confirmed.
A safety audit of site last year, criticised the pier facilities at Portmagee Pier, the main departure point for an average ten thousand visitors a year to the Skellig Michael.
There was a risk of slipping on the steep concrete steps leading to the boats at Protmagee, it found.
This weekend the Minisiter for Transport Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar said he had allocated €200,000 in funding for the Failte Ireland Tourism Capital Improvement Programme for new landing facilities for tourists on the site.
The new pontoons will be closer to the fishing village and will be ring fenced for OPW licensed Skellig boats, as well as vessels involved in sea safaris and sea angling.
“The mooring facilities at Portmagee are an important tourism facility because they enable thousands of tourists to gain access to the Skellig Islands, one of Ireland’s most remarkable tourist attractions. This new funding will significantly improve access to the ferries for visitors,” the minister said.
This autumn the guide service on the Skellig Michael 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 begins now around the last week of May and is set to end towards the end of September.
The fall from over 12,000 visitors last year to over 8,500 up to the end of September was attributed to bad weather, which made it impossible for the boats to embark.