In June 2020, the Office of Public Works (OPW) carried out detailed COVID-19 Health and Safety audits of the site, which reported on safety and access issues for OPW workers and visitors. Subsequently, OPW staff have carried out the essential annual maintenance works to the steps leading up to the monastery, the monastery structures, the lighthouse road and workers site huts.
The OPW commenced an extensive programme of repairs to the Upper Lighthouse road in 2017. These repair works, include the installation of additional crash decks to protect staff from future rockfalls. are ongoing and will be completed in 2021. Works have commenced on the stripping out of the Lower Lighthouse ahead of the proposed refurbishment of the Lighthouse to provide secure accommodation for OPW workers and consultants on the Island. OPW has carried out a number of inspections of the Lower Lighthouse with engineering consultants to advance this refurbishment.
Additional surveys and investigations are being carried out during the Summer on Skellig Michael such as:
the National Parks and Wildlife Service has continued its ongoing programme of bird surveys
UCC School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science carried out a Puffin survey
the Discovery Programme will visit the Island in September 2020 to continue their monitoring survey of the Monastery and monastic ruins on the South Peak
a digital survey of the landing pier and fog station also will be carried out in September, weather permitting
It is expected that the OPW staff will leave Skellig Michael in early October 2020 and return in advance of the 2021 Season.
The OPW Commissioner John Mc Mahon visited Skellig Michael on 17 June. The OPW Chairman Maurice Buckley visited the Island on 15 July accompanied by the Chief Archaeologist Michael Mc Donagh of the National Monuments Service.