Scheduled opening date of Skellig Michael deferred
The OPW has today confirmed that, owing to recent poor weather and sea conditions off the South west cost, the scheduled opening date for visitors to Skellig Michael has been deferred. The decision was taken late on Friday 10th when it became apparent that further poor weather in the next few days will make access impossible, meaning that necessary pre-season safety works cannot be completed on time.
It had been hoped to open Skellig Michael for visitors on Saturday next, 18th May; however, the OPW have been severely hampered in accessing the Island over the past few weeks in order to complete the required safety and site preparation works and, as a result, the site is not yet in a position to open to visitors.
“Owing to poor weather and sea conditions right throughout March, April and early May, we have only been able to land our works team on the island very briefly to date” said an OPW spokesman today. “Normally, we need approx. 2 – 3 weeks to check Skellig Michael for winter storm damage, clear away any debris, provision staff quarters and prepare all visitor areas and the Monastic Monument for the public. However, pre-season access this year has been very problematic and we now have a significant backlog of work to deal with.”
OPW workmen were able to access the island for a number of days late last week and worked over the weekend to make the necessary preparations; however, with poor weather forecast for the next few days, OPW have been frustrated in their efforts to go back to the Island for the present and, while conditions may improve late in the week, it is clear that the scheduled opening date next Saturday has to be deferred.
“We apologise for the disruption this will inevitably cause to some visitors” the OPW spokesman said. “However, Skellig Michael is an extremely challenging environment and the safety of our visitors must remain a priority. We are working as rapidly as the conditions allow and will hope to announce a new date as soon as possible, once the current spell of poor weather has passed and the necessary safety preparations are fully completed.”
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