Sceilg Mhichíl (Skellig Michael) looks set to welcome public visitors again later this month, with a target date of 21 June for reopening the popular island off the Kerry coast.

Crews from the Office of Public Works (OPW) are currently on-site doing preparatory health and safety work ahead of the planned reopening date.

While it is anticipated the works will be done on time, the 21 June date is subject to the weather remaining favourable over the coming weeks.

In a statement, Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW Patrick O'Donovan described it as "much-anticipated good news" for holidaymakers eager to visit the iconic site.

The island, which has grown in popularity in recent years in part as it was a filming location for the Star Wars film franchise, has been closed to visitors due to the pandemic for well over a year.

The OPW announced last July that it would remain closed until 2021 as the "risks involved in both the boat voyage and the visitor experience on the island itself cannot be addressed sufficiently to guarantee the safety of both visitors and OPW staff".

Those wishing to visit Sceilg Mhichíl are advised to consult for updates ahead of planning their trip.

Minister O'Donovan added: "I myself look forward to visiting this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site soon and I hope that weather conditions will allow OPW staff to complete the required preparatory works so the reopening can go ahead on 21 June.

"Thanks to the progress we have made on the path to recovery, we will have the opportunity to discover and enjoy national treasures such as these over the coming months."

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Cahill welcomed the news and said it was "critical" the island be re-opened to visitors as soon as possible.

"The Skellig boatmen have been drawing people to South Kerry for decades and the knock-on spend by visitors can be felt in shops, restaurants, pubs, accommodation, B&B's, hotels, etc throughout the county," he said.

"I can't emphasise enough the importance of Skellig Michael to the Kerry tourism package and it is integral to future employment in the region along with The Ring of Kerry, The Kerry Way and hopefully soon, The South Kerry Greenway."