Skellig visitor numbers more than 5,000 above approved level
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.