The magnificent Skellig Michael is one of only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Republic of Ireland (the other is Brú na Bóinne). On the summit of this awe-inspiring rock off the Kerry coast is St Fionan’s monastery, one of the earliest foundations in the country. The monks who lived there prayed and slept in beehive-shaped huts made of stone. The monks left the island in the thirteenth century but many of the stone huts remain to this day. Following in the monks’ footsteps involves climbing 618 steep, uneven steps. Getting to the top is quite a challenge, but well worth the effort. As well as the wealth of history, there is a fantastic profusion of bird life on and around the island. Little Skellig is the second-largest gannet colony in the world.