Skel­lig vis­i­tor num­bers more than 5,000 above ap­proved level

The Irish Times - - Home News - ANNE LUCEY

The num­ber of vis­i­tors land­ing on the Unesco world her­itage site of Skel­lig Michael off the coast of Kerry is one and a half times what is con­sid­ered en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able.

The to­tal num­ber for the 2018 sea­son run­ning be­tween mid-May to the end of Septem­ber came to 16,792, ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice of Pub­lic Works.

This is just 37 more than in 2017 but is 5,692 vis­its in ex­cess of the 11,100 cap the out­go­ing man­age­ment plan ap­proved by Unesco con­sid­ers “sus­tain­able” for the sixth-cen­tury site.

An Taisce has ex­pressed alarm at the num­bers now vis­it­ing the “frag­ile” site. Num­bers have of­ten ex­ceeded the rec­om­mended fig­ure but the re­cent spike is at­trib­uted to the is­land’s role as a set­ting in the lat­est Star Wars movies.

A world her­itage site since 1996, the monas­tic is­land is also an im­por­tant seabird breed­ing site.

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