The Skellig Ring is a coastal drive that is an extension of the famous Ring of Kerry on the Wild Atlantic Way – described in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017 as “perhaps Ireland's most charismatically wild and emerald stretch of coastline”.
Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a “remote, wave-pounded hunk of rock rising out of the Atlantic like a giant triangle,” made the new Star Wars location list. As the book recognises, “Glimpsed at the end of The Force Awakens, Skellig Michael will play a bigger role in this year's sequel and local businesses are gearing up for the expected visitor bump”.
Also highlighted in the book is Skellig Michael's sister isle, known as Small Skellig, “an even craggier outpost that hosts a colony of 50,000 gannets.” Both are located on the Wild Atlantic Way, often referred to as the world's longest coastal touring route – a 2,500km stretch of glorious rugged coast along the west of Ireland.
The Skellig islands are located off the coast of Kerry and while the book recognises that “nothing beats actually landing on Skellig Michael and climbing the 600 treacherously steep stone steps to reach the intriguing, beehive like-chambers,” when the isles are out of bounds due to inclement weather, the string of villages from which the boats depart also offer a host of distractions – from cosy pubs and Blue Flag beaches, to historic ruins.
Lonely Planet spokesperson, Nóirín Hegarty, said, “The Skellig Ring should be on every traveller's must-see list. It's a spot of timeless beauty and now that it's coming to prominence on the silver screen, 2017 really is the year to get out there and see it for yourself.”
The Skellig Ring features tenth on the list of top regions for 2017, alongside South Australia, Taranaki in New Zealand, the Azores in Portugal, the Tuamotus in French Polynesia and Coastal Georgia in the USA. Choquequiro in Peru takes the top spot.
Lonely Planet's writers and experts spend time on the road in almost every destination on the planet and each year they report which destinations are set to take off, offering travellers the best experience available. The destinations selected for Lonely Planet's Best in Travel meet specific criteria; it could be that something special is going on in the year ahead or there's been recent development and a lot of buzz about the place, that it offers travellers new things to see or do, or that the Lonely Planet team of experts thinks it's been overlooked and underrated and suggests travellers visit before the crowds do.
Top 10 Regions in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017
2. Taranaki, New Zealand
3. The Azores, Portugal
4. North Wales, UK
5. South Australia
6. Aysén, Chile
7. The Tuamotus, French Polynesia
8. Coastal Georgia, USA
9. Perak, Malaysia
10. The Skellig Ring, Ireland