Situated on neighboring Valentia Island, the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre showcases the history and habitats of the Skelligs, two remote and rocky islets off Ireland’s southwest coast. Exhibits document the history of the UNESCO-listed Skellig Michael monastic settlement, Skellig Lighthouses, and the wildlife of the islands.
Housed inside a distinctive glass-roofed building, the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre allows you to find out more about these two wind-swept Atlantic islets from the safety and comfort of indoors. The center is a great complementary activity for those who plan on heading out to the monastic ruins on Skellig Michael, and a terrific alternative for those who can’t access the Skelligs themselves, whether because of bad weather, having young children in tow, or mobility issues.
The center is often visited as part of Ring of Kerry day tours from Killarney, Killorglin, Sneem, or Cahersiveen. Day tours to the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre typically make stops at other nearby sights, such as the fishing town of Portmagee. The center also runs boat cruises around the Skellig Islands (no landing) during the summer months.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Skellig Experience Visitor Centre is a must for history buffs, natures lovers, and anyone planning a trip to the ruins.
- A restaurant with excellent sea views and a shop are situated at the center.
- The center is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The Skellig Experience Centre is situated on Valentia Island, County Kerry. Drivers exploring the Ring of Kerry should depart the route between Cahersiveen and Waterville, following the sign marked Valentia Island and Portmagee. Find the center at the far end of the road bridge from Portmagee.
When to Get There
The Skellig Experience Visitor Centre is open from March through September, with boat trips running from April to September, weather-permitting. The busiest months are July and August. For a quieter experience, get here early in the day.
Stories of the Skelligs
Skellig Michael was originally known for its early Christian monastic settlement, which was built by the Skellig monks who first arrived on the wind- and wave-battered islet in the sixth century. Parts of the complex, including beehive-shaped cells, a church, and graveyard, can still be seen. In recent years, the Skelligs have been thrown into the limelight for a different reason, having been used as a filming location in the latest Star Wars movies.