A safety review of Skellig Michael, commissioned after two tourists fell to their deaths in separate incidents on the island last year, has recommended against erecting protective barriers along its steep walkways.

The review does call for better signage and says warnings about the dangers should be included in promotional literature.

The island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is 12km off the Kerry coast.

Last year, two American tourists died in separate incidents after falls off the steps that lead to the monastic settlement 600ft above sea level. A German tourist also died on the island in 1995.

Following these tragedies and calls to erect safety fencing, the OPW commissioned a safety review, which was published today.

The report contains 31 recommendations, but crucially says no fencing should be erected.

However, the report does warn that the stepped ascent is severely exposed to height in places, and a simple stumble is very likely to lead to a fall resulting in serious injury or death.

It says a lack of awareness and inadequate preparedness on the part of some visitors has a very significant influence on their risk levels.

It recommends a more stark description of the risks on Skellig Michael should be published in the official visitor guide and a standardised notice should be designed and displayed at tourist information offices and on boats that ferry passengers to the site.

The notice should also acknowledge that fatalities have occurred on the island.

The report also recommends a realignment of a couple of steps immediately adjacent to the ledge where last year's fatalities occurred as the authors believe an initial slip or stumble on these may have led to one of the tragedies.