Public Competition for a Permit to carry passengers to Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry

2 March 17

Skellig Michael

Competition for New Permits to Land Passengers on the Island

Public Competition for a Permit to carry passengers to Skellig Michael (PDF)

Queries and Responses (PDF)


The Commissioners of Public Works (OPW) are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Skellig Michael National Monument, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a Special Protection Area (SPA).

As part of their remit, the OPW are in charge of managing access to the Island and for determining a sustainable level of visitor traffic to what has been recognised is a unique and fragile site.   The only regular access to the Island is by boat and the OPW have therefore created a system of Permits, renewable annually, to determine which Boat Operators may travel to the Island and land passengers there.   Currently, 13 Operators are in receipt of Permits.

One of the elements of the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation process relates to the engagement with local communities and the absorption of World Heritage sites into the traditional social, economic and cultural life of the areas where they are located.   There is, as a result, a particular focus within the WHS process on the integration of sites into the fabric of local communities.   The OPW therefore regard the involvement of local parties in Kerry in Skellig Michael as key and will seek to try and ensure that this principle is maintained in their management of the site to the greatest possible extent.   This will be obvious, for example, in the insistence that Operators may not hold multiple Permits, so as to avoid a monopoly situation, or an over-dependence arising within the fleet on a single individual.   However, bearing in mind the public nature of the Skellig Michael site, it is clear also that the Permits allowing Operators to bring visitors there must be awarded after an open and transparent competition.

In respect of the Boat Permit provision, the OPW has decided, in light of a careful assessment of the current position, to hold a competition for a minimum of eleven (11) new Permits, to be awarded to new entrants to the fleet, at the start of the 2017 Season.   This document sets out the terms and conditions for the Competition, outlines the various documents that must be returned in response to this competition ("the Competition Bid") and sets out how the successful applicant will be selected.

Intending Applicants for the additional Permit at Skellig will be advised by Public Advertisement of the general Competition details and may either download the relevant competition documents from the Web or apply to be sent them manually.   Any parties who require advice and assistance to interpret the requirements and understand better what is being sought may, in the preparation of their bid, ask clarification questions or seek further information.   Any questions asked, and the responses, will be shared with all candidates publicly, by way of a document published on the OPW Website.

All intending Applicants must supply a working email address to enable the OPW Heritage Services to communicate with them and deal with relevant issues directly in a timely way.

Further information is available at the links below.

Public Competition for a Permit to carry passengers to Skellig Michael (PDF)

Queries and Responses (PDF)

The Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland wish to advise the closing date in respect of the above competition has been extended to 12.00 noon, Friday 31 March 2017.  A panel of suitable qualifying and experienced boatmen will be formed from successful applicants in this permit competition, to provide passenger access to Skellig Michael beginning in the 2017 season which commences in mid-May 2017.

Individuals, or a Partnership, where a boat is jointly owned, who wish to be considered for inclusion in the panel can obtain full details of the competition above.

In the event applicants have a query in relation to the Competition or are unclear regarding any aspect of the competition document, they should address their question to the OPW National Monuments Service:


  • by post to OPW, Lakeside Retail Park, Claremorris, Co Mayo

before Monday 20 March 2017.

All verbal queries will be refused and will not be responded to.

A response to all queries may be obtained from the above page no later than 31 March 2017.