You go to various places along the coast for a boat trip.
On my first visit I took off from Ballinskelligs, must have been Joe Roddy, though I remember they offered diving trips (and they don't show it on the below website/link..).
The second time we went with a Portmagee based company (Des Lavalle, I think). Small boats, high sea, it was quite tough but being on the islands was as rewarding as the first trip.
The quickest way to get to Skellig is to take the boat by Murphy Sea Cruise.
It only takes 55 minutes from Portmagee. The boat leaves Portmagee at 10:30 a.m. - better ring before to make sure the boat will go. It only goes when the sea is calm enough (which still isn't really calm! Actually it can get quite rough, that's why the boats are open so that people don't get sick too easily!!!)
You will find out more about the tour on the Murphy's website. The phone number to reserve is: 066-9477156 or 087-2342168(mobile). The trip costs 25 IEP - and it worth every penny!
After arriving at Blind Man's Cove on Skellig Michael you will have approx. 3 hours to explore the island (dependant on the weather) before the boat will pick you up and bring you back to Portmagee.
There are only 156 people allowed on the island each day-13 boats with 12 people in each. The fare in July was 45euro. All the boats are open so you can get very wet in rough seas. I found one covered boat from Ballinskelligs-this cost 50 Euro but was well wortyh the extra charge. We watched people on other boats arrive cold wet and shivering whereas we were dry-still a little seasick mind you!
The Skipper was a fellow called Sean-his humour alone was worth the fare. On the way back he gave kids a coke and chocolate biscuit free of charge. We saw two basking sharks, a sunfish and about 50 dolphins. He stopped to let us see these. He also gave his business card with his mobile number on it-he did say this was so I could pass it on to any lady over 35 as he was in the market!!! (086 4176612)
There is a website but it is primarily a diving site, however it does show the boats,including the covered boat. www.skelligboats.com.
From Ballinskelligs the trip is about an hour each way. The departure time varies with tides but is generally about 11am. VERY IMPORTANT: Due to the small numbers allowed on the island you should book at least three days in advance during July and August and a day in advance at other times. There are no discounts for kids on a landing trip but there are on a non landing trip. These non landing trips are generally from Ballinskelligs at 11am, 2pm and 330pm. The 2008 price was 30euro for adults and 20 foor kids.