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How should we preserve and protect Sceilg Mhichíl? People urged to have their say

In recent years, the island has been host to plenty of tourists… and Luke Skywalker.

Image: Nicky Ryan/TheJournal.ie

THE GOVERNMENT HAS launched a public consultation on a new 10-year management plan for the World Heritage Site off the coast of Kerry – Scelig Mhichíl.

The towering rocky island has become a huge tourist draw in recent years, as it has served as the home of Luke Skywalker in the latest installments of the Star Wars saga.

Its history dates back centuries, when monks founded a monastery on the rock. While the monastic community had largely moved back to the mainland by the 13th century, it continued to be venerated as a place of pilgrimage. 

However, as it is a UNESCO protected site, visitors are strictly limited by number and to certain times of the year.

The new consultation is around “protecting and preserving the outstanding universal value of the site, while allowing it to be accessible to local communities and visitors to experience and enjoy its cultural and spiritual richness,” a statement from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said.

Those with an interest in the management of the site are urged to make their views known so they can be considered before the department sends its full plan to UNESCO in the New Year.

Minister Josepha Madigan said Sceilg Mhichíl stood above all of Ireland’s wonderful archaeological monuments in terms of its visibility and prominence.

She added: “It is the remit of my Department and of the OPW to preserve, conserve and manage this great site not only for the people of Ireland, but for the whole world.

A new and comprehensive management plan will affirm our responsibilities to this magnificent place, and the views of our stakeholders are integral to our 10-year vision for the island.

Anyone seeking to participate in the consultation can send a submission to skelligmanagementplan@chg.gov.ie or write to:

Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht

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Skellig Michael Management Plan,

The Custom House,

Dublin 1. D01 W6XO

All submissions should include fill contact details so a full acknowledgement and response can be issued.

About the author:

Sean Murray

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