BirdWatch Ireland Reserves

Little Skellig - County Kerry

Little SkelligLittle Skellig, GanetLittle Skellig


The Little Skellig reserve is an iconic BirdWatch Ireland nature reserve. Isolated jagged pinnacles of rock rising up to 134 metres make for an impressive sight alongside its larger partner, Skellig Michael. Little Skellig is famed for its massive colony of some 35,000 pairs of Gannets, the largest breeding colony in Ireland and among the largest in the world, that make for an awe-inspiring sight from a boat.

Key species


Difficult to miss! Look for these large stunning birds cruising around and above the cliffs and fishing out to sea by plunging in headfirst with their wings closed.


Sometimes referred to as the clown of the sea; often prove difficult to see or hear among the swirling throng and deafening noise of the Gannets but they are much easier to see on Skellig Michael.

Accessibility & Facilities

Access to the island is by written permission from BirdWatch Ireland only; it is inaccessible but can be viewed from a boat or distantly from the mainland. Many licensed boat operators do daily tours through the summer months from Valentia, Portmagee and Ballinskelligs, leaving in the morning and returning in the afternoon. These boat trips will circumnavigate the island en route to or from Skellig Michael.

Opening times: The Little Skellig reserve is open all year-round although the island is inaccessible.

Entrance charges: Free, but donations to help us continue our work here are welcome.

Facilities: There are no facilities. 

Where is it?

Location: an offshore island some 11km off the southwest tip of Co. Kerry

Grid Ref: V 271 617

Google maps

Further info

BirdWatch Ireland West Kerry Branch - Facebook  

BirdWatch Ireland Seabird blog  

Kerry Birding  

What’s the weather like?


Little Skellig site guide