The Skelligs: Great Skellig and Little Skellig

Country/territory: Ireland

IBA criteria met: A4ii, A4iii, B1ii, B2, B3, C2, C3, C4, C6 (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 364 ha

BirdWatch Ireland

Site description (baseline)
Two precipitous, rocky, uninhabited islands, situated 16 km west of Bolus Head on the Iveragh peninsula in County Kerry. Great Skellig reaches a height of 240 m and is the site of an old Celtic monastery. Little Skellig lies 1 km to its north-east and reaches 134 m in height. Great Skellig is popular with day-trippers. Landing on Little Skellig is prohibited.

Key biodiversity
The Skellig Islands are of international importance for breeding seabirds. In particular, the colony of Sula bassana on Little Skellig is the largest in Ireland. Other species breeding in numbers of national importance are Fulmarus glacialis (>800 pairs, 1993), Rissa tridactyla (>2,000 pairs, 1993), Alca torda (>300 birds, 1993) and Uria aalge (1,500 birds, 1993).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: The Skelligs: Great Skellig and Little Skellig. Downloaded from on 05/06/2023.