Skellig Michael has to be one of the most incredible and fascinating
places in the world. Not only is it a place of breathtaking scenery rich
in natural wonders, but it's also a place steeped in history. In the 6th
century St. Fionan founded a monastic settlement on the Island. This
incredible feat of engineering and leap of faith, took place on an island
some 714 feet high, lying 8 miles off the south-west coast of Ireland and involved the
construction of Stone built beehive cells, Retaining walls, two
oratories, a church, cross slabs, two wells,
Stone terraces, flights of stone steps leading from their landing
sights at sea level to the Monastery some 200 metres above and much more.
The Monks are believed to have inhabited Skellig Michael until the 12
Century when they abandoned the site and moved to the mainland. Through
the 600 years they spent there, they endured Faithfully the harshness of
life as well as merciless raids from Viking invaders. In one such
raid it was recorded in the Annals of Ulster that in 823 AD the Monk Eitgal of Skelligs was captured by the Vikings and taken from the Island
and the deaths of Blathmhac in 950 and Aed in 1044 were recorded in the
Annals of the Four Masters.
It was GEORGE BERNARD SHAW who said,
......"But for the magic that takes you out, far out of this time and
this world, there is Skellig Michael, ten miles off the Kerry
Coast, shooting straight up 700 feet out of the Atlantic. Whoever has not
stood in the graveyards at the summit of that cliff, among the beehive
dwellings and their beehive oratory, does not know Ireland through and
through, It is the beauty of Ireland that has made us what we are."
From the "Beauty of Ireland" by G.B.S
After the monks abandoned Skellig Michael, the Island and
its monastery became a place of pilgrimage from around the 16th Century
onwards. Large numbers of Pilgrims came and performed the way of the
Cross from the Landing place up to the monastery. This also led to the
"Skellig Lists" where young couples voyages to Skelligs to marry during
lent, a time when marriage could not take place on the mainland but was
permitted on Skellig Michael.
Between 1820 and 1826, two Lighthouses were built on
Skellig Michael. In the space of a few short Years, the Irish Lights
completed the monumental task of building the Pier on Skelligs that we
use today, the Long roadway with outer walling and two Lighthouses which
were lit for the first time on December 1826. This achievement in its own
right is a testimony to the men who built the lighthouses and to the men
and their families who manned them there after. This Chapter in the
history of Skellig Michael, is but one of many spanning back across the
centuries telling stories which I have only barely touched upon.
Skellig Michael in its entirety became a World Heritage
Site in 1996, a designation handed down by UNESCO who state that all time
periods of a World Heritage Site must be Equally Respected and this is
very true for Skelligs. The importance of the lighthouse era and the
maritime history connected with it along with the phases of pilgrimages
to the Island and the tradition of the local communities with long
standing connections to the Island, is equally as important and deserves
equal recognition as that of the Monastic era on Skellig Michael.
Today visitors from around the world come to visit Skellig
Michael, following in the footsteps of so many in past centuries before
them. Skelligs is a special place of beauty and wonder and a place that
deserves our utmost respect and appreciation. So come and visit Skelligs
for your selves and take that step back in time through centuries or our
Irish history and our World Heritage.
The Fatal Echo By Frank Donaldson.
A World War II Air crash Off South-West Ireland.
The true story of how the crew of an American Navy Aircraft flew to
their deaths at Skellig Rock, off the coast of south-west Ireland, on the
night of 27 February 1944. 'The glow from the altimeter indicated 700'.
The depth charges and flares were ready. It was 01.02 hours and
visibility was still poor' One minute later the aircraft struck the
highest point of Skellig Michael.
Contact :The Warplane Research Group of Ireland..
Skellig Boat Trips
Joe Roddy & Sons
00 353 (087) 1209924
Here you can see a view of Skellig Michael From the small Skelligs with thousands of Gannets Flying above.
Above you can see two gannets diving on a fish
at Skelligs. These incredible birds can hit the water like arrows at high
speed in order to chase and catch fish under the water.
A view the Little Skelligs
from the Great Skellig Michael.
Joe Roddy & Sons
Here you can see
one of the Landing sites at Skellig
Michael used by the Monks between the 6th and 12th Century. This landing
site is not used today as there is a modern pier built which our boats
use. If you look closely you can see the old steps that the monks used,
carved into the rocks.
The Monastery on
Joe Roddy & Sons
For What To Do and See in our region have a look at the
following website in your preferred language.
More Skellig Michael Photos:
To Land and Explore the Island contact
Joe Roddy & Sons
Call / Text: 00 353 (087) 1209924
Over 40 Years taking passengers to