Republic of Ireland news

Skellig Michael: 'Worrying' rockfall reported at world heritage site

Rockfall on Skellig Michael, a world heritage site off the Co Kerry coast

A SERIOUS rockfall has been reported at world heritage site Skellig Michael.

The Republic's Office of Public Works (OPW) announced on Tuesday that boulders had fallen on to a roadway at the monastic site, 12km off the Kerry coast.

The road is not normally open to visitors but is used by guides and OPW staff.

The rockfall was discovered last week when OPW staff arrived at the island to carry out maintenance works and safety checks before the site opens to visitors in mid-May.

Grellan Rourke, the OPW’s senior conservation architect for Skellig Michael, said some winter storm damage is normal "but the level of rockfall we have encountered this year is highly exceptional and, because of where it has come down, deeply worrying indeed".

He said the OPW will consult a safety contractor to try and assess if there is any imminent danger of further landslides or rockfalls.

A similar rockfall last year caused concerns that tourists would not be able to visit the site, although the island was opened.

The Christian site, founded sometime between the sixth and eighth centuries, was occupied by monks until the 12th century.

It recently featured in the final scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


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