The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sceilg Mhichíl in Co Kerry will welcome visitors again from next month.
Mhichíl, an island close to Portmagee, Valentia, Ballinskelligs and Derrynane Harbour, was the setting for parts of Star Wars films The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
The island will welcome visitors again on Saturday, May 13 for the 2023 season.
The Office of Public Works (OPW), which manages the site, said as always access is subject to favorable weather, sea and island conditions.
Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State responsible for the OPW said: “I am delighted to announce the reopening to visitors of this unique World Heritage site for the summer season.
“Sceilg Mhichíl is one of Ireland’s most iconic heritage sites and plays an important role in the local tourism economy, which we are proud to support through this and other OPW sites across the county.”
Referring to the site’s participation in a global initiative to protect cultural monuments from the effects of climate change, Mr O’Donovan added that the island was “undoubtedly one of the most challenging sites under the care of the OPW.”
“Our team is doing a great job against the serious challenges of site, isolation and unpredictable weather conditions to ensure safe access for visitors and the protection of the island’s heritage,” he said.
Sceilg Mhichíl is one of 10 locations worldwide participating in the Preserving Legacises: A Future For Our Past project.
The OPW said the scheme “will equip communities around the world with the tools to accurately anticipate worsening and future climate impacts on culture, and help them turn that scientific knowledge into action to protect sites.”
The OPW, the National Monuments Service (NMS) and the National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will develop the scientific knowledge and technical training of site management teams and the local community of Sceilg Mhichíl to develop site- and human-based climate change adaptation plans for the Islands.
Mr O’Donovan said: “As custodians of this World Heritage Site, we in the OPW, alongside NMS and NPWS, are privileged to partner with others around the world on this important project, further enhancing our involvement with the community of Southern Kerry is strengthened in terms of the value and significance of the island.”
All potential visitors are encouraged to watch Sceilg Mhichíl’s safety video before booking a visit to the island to get an idea of what to expect.
A visit to the monastery on the island, where Luke Skywalker’s character was filmed hiding, involves a climb of 618 steps, rising to over 600 feet.
The OPW said this “is a demanding climb and any person with health problems should carefully consider their own physical limitations before exploring this part of the site.”
Booking in advance is essential and details can be found on heritageireland.ie