The Skellig Experience Visitor Centre aims to provide visitors who can and cannot visit Skellig Islands with a focal point providing full interpretation of the history and stories associated with the islands and the surrounding area. The recent use of the Skelligs Islands in the Star Wars Movie ‘The last Jedi’ has led to a drastic increase in interest in this world heritage site although most visitors cannot be accommodated on the Island itself.
The existing visitor centre was designed by Peter and Mary Doyle Architects and opened to the public in 1992. The single storey structure is made from five adjacent concrete segmental vaults with a turf roof. The building cannot cope with current demand and the facilities are out-of-date.
In 2017, Fáilte Ireland appointed a design team led by Henchion Reuter Architects to undertake a Design Study of the Visitor Centre in Valentia Island, Co Kerry.
The HRA proposal reinvents the existing spaces for temporary exhibition, café, library and restaurant and adds new circular spaces for a permanent exhibition including a 360 degree audio visual theatre and an external high level viewing area/dark skies facility.