The Skellig Islands (Skellig Michael and Little Skellig) can be seen from the western and higher parts of the island and appear as two large rocks jutting out of the Atlantic Ocean. Actually they are two small islands approx 12 km west of Valentia.
Skellig Michael, the larger of the two islands, is 42 acres (17 hectares) in size is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and was a centre of monastic life for Irish Christan Monks from the 6th to the 12th centuary. The monastic settlement consists of six beehive huts, two oratories and a church all constructed from dry stone. The monastic settlement is situated at the summit of the 230 metre high rock and is accessed via the 670 steps from the landing point to the summit. Both Skellig Islands contain an amazing array of birdlife with the Little Skellig being home to 25,000 pairs of breeding gannets. Boat trips to the Skelligs are available during the main tourist season weather permitting.
The Skellig Experience Centre which is just beyond the bridge on Valentia is well worth a visit to view the illustrated guide and video on life on the Skelligs.