Nature Reserves

Conserving vital habitats

Little Skellig, Co. Kerry

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.

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.


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.

Check out the latest Reserve News

CorncrakeNewsReservesSpecies Conservation and Land Management
August 18, 2023

Positive news for Ireland’s Corncrake population but numbers remain critically low

BirdWatch Ireland welcomes the news that Ireland’s Corncrake population is on the rise but says that cautious optimism is required as numbers still remain critically low. Data released by the…
Great Yellow Bumblebee at BirdWatch Ireland's Termoncarragh Meadows Nature Reserve ReservesSpecies Conservation and Land Management
May 21, 2021

Conserving the Great Yellow Bumblebee in Co. Mayo

BirdWatch Ireland is not just for the birds. A recent paper published in the Journal of Insect Conservation highlights that our reserves on the Mullet Peninsula hold the highest numbers…

Further Information

Site Guide – Little Skellig

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