There are many different sources of information about the Skellig Rocks on the internet. This page contains a small snippet from some of them , the full story about the Skellig Rocks can be read on the respective websites by following the links after each text piece.
Experience for yourself the breathtaking beauty of the Skellig Rocks, nothing compares to being up close and perrsonal with the majestic Skellig Rocks , Skellig Michael Cruises Eco tour around the rocks will leave you with memories that will be difficult to beat.
Rock of Ages
John Quinn experiences the magic and mystery of Skellig Rock, the monastic settlement off the south-west coast of Kerry.
In September 2000, John Quinn realised a personal ambition when he made a two day visit to Skellig Rock, the monastic settlement off the coast of Kerry.
The monks came to Skellig about the 6th century and remained for another five centuries in this wild and sacred place. To get to the beehive cells, one must climb about 600 steps (alot of breathless recording here … !), but it is a most rewarding climb, if only to savour the magnificent panorama and to delight in the sound scape of seawash and seabirds.
The monastic village is preserved and restored by Duchás and Duchás guide Bob Harris and geologist Grellan Rourke reveal Skellig’s wonderful story to John Quinn. The documentary is illustrated with Seamus Heaney’s poetry, but the most telling pictures of all are the bird calls, the seawash and the silence of this haunting and sacred rock of ages.
‘Rock of Ages’ was first broadcast on 4th December 2000
It is not easy to visit Skellig Michael (St. Michael’s Rock). The taller of its twin peaks thrusts abruptly 218 m (715 ft) from the sea 11.6 km (7.2 m) off the westernmost tip of Co. Kerry’s Iveragh Peninsula. A trip to the island’s monastic site is an experience which, in Peter Harbison’s words, “the expectation aroused by photographs and oral accounts is not only not disappointed but is actually far surpassed.”3
While today’s visitors need not suffer through the four-hour wave-tossed ordeal of a 19th-century traveler,4 even on the most modern tourist boats the demand for Dramamine can quickly exceed the supply.5 The sealife-encrusted metal ladder needed to board the ship at low water in Portmagee presents a challenge, but not nearly so much as disembarking at the bare-bones landing at Great Skellig, synchronizing your step over the side with the surge rocking the boat. On some days tourists intending to land will find that conditions have deteriorated by the time of their arrival and, after an unsettling cruise around the Little and the Great Skelligs, they find themselves returning to the mainland without disembarking on the island. Here there are no guarantees.
The well-preserved monastic remains have retained a strong spiritual after-life which appeals strongly to the human psyche. Visitors cannot but be awestruck by the physical achievements of these early monks which, when combined with the sense of solitude, ocean and bird sounds evokes a quiet sense of magic. This is beautifully expressed by George Bernard Shaw who, following a visit in 1910, described this ‘incredible, impossible, mad place’ as ‘part of our dream world’.
The most fantastic and impossible rock in the world: Skellig Michael…where in south west gales the spray knocks stones out of the lighthouse keeper’s house…the Skelligs are pinnacled, crocketed, spired, arched, caverned, minaretted; and these gothic extravagances are not curiosities of the islands: they are the islands: there is nothing else. The rest of the cathedral may be under the sea for all I know…An incredible, impossible, mad place…I tell you the thing does not belong to any world that you and I have lived and worked in: it is part of our dream world.
Shaw, Bernard. Collected Letters [of] Bernard Shaw, 1898-1910. Ed. Dan H. Laurence. London: M. Reinhardt, 1972. 941.
From Shaw’s letter to Frederick Jackson: “Parknasilla Hotel, Sneem, 18th September 1910.”
“We’re perched on this vertiginous rock, out somewhere in the Atlantic in almost total darkness, with some of the strangest sounds you’ll ever hear in Western Europe all around us…”
Written and presented by Luke Clancy, Skelligs Calling is a sonic portrait of Skellig Michael in the company of world-renowned recordist, Chris Watson.
Surveying the sounds of this UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, Chris captures the gurgling of Storm Petrels – who nest at the island’s monastic summit – and the raucous music of Manx Shearwaters as they swarm around Christ’s Saddle in the dark. But only after we eavesdrop on Chris’s arduous climb of the island’s ancient stone stairway in windy conditions after a journey that has been repeatedly cancelled due to unpredictable sea conditions in the area.
As we make the ascent of Skellig Michael we hear stories along the way. Archaeologist Michael Gibbons explains how in the 5th and 6th century the island was settled by Christian monks, and how, in medieval times, the island was envisioned as a Christian fortress defending against the advances of the devil. Boatman Des Lavelle takes us to the neighbouring island, Little Skellig, where we can hear 27,000 pairs of gannets in full cry. Paddy Bushe reads a poem about his adventure climbing the island’s South Peak. Lighthouse Keeper, Richard Foran explains how rocket fire used to be part of the Skellig soundscape – when sound signals were needed to alert straying vessels in heavy fog.
Skelligs Calling was produced by Kevin Brew with Luke Clancy, with the kind permission of the Commissioners of Irish Lights and The Office of Public Works.
It was made with the support of The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
Skellig Michael the largest of the two Skellig Rocks is a wilderness site and a designated Nature Reserve. The site presents a unique landscape and visitors must take care at all times.
A visit to the monastery will entail a climb of 618 steps, ascending over 600 ft. (180 metres). It is a demanding climb and any person with health issues should consider carefully their own physical limitations before exploring this part of the site.
· Visitors must stay on the recognised pathways at all times
· Children must be strictly supervised at all times
· Beware of falling rocks
· Steep gradient on the steps
· Uneven steps
· Steps slippery when wet
is one of the main sea lights off the South West coast and is located on the outer and larger of the Skellig Rocks; eight miles (12.8km) from the nearest mainland point, North East of Puffin Island.
Compared with the monastery the lighthouse presence is comparatively short (1826) nevertheless its history is, in its own way, just as fascinating.
Early in 1818 Maurice Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry, reminded the Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin that over twenty years previously the Grand Jury of the County of Kerry had looked for a lighthouse on Bray Head, Valentia Island, which had been agreed but suspended until the opinion of Trinity House had been taken. Fitzgerald also reminded the Board of two merchant ship casualties in Dingle and Ballinaskelligs Bays both for the want of a light between Loophead and Cape Clear Island. Mr Fitzgerald was informed that the subject would be looked into.
For 600 years, Skellig Michael (Sceilig Mhichíl in Irish Gaelic, meaning Michael’s rock) was an important center of monastic life for Irish Christian monks. An Irish Celtic monastery situated almost at the summit of the 755 foot high rock, it was built in ca. 7th Century. Legend associates its founding with St. Fionan.
The monastic complex, arrived at after a steep climb of 600+ steps, contains a cluster of six clochans (beehive huts), two oratories, and several small terraces on a plateau approximately 700 feet above sea level. The monastery survived a number of Viking raids in the 9th Century, notably in 823 A.D. It was later significantly expanded with a new chapel built around 1000 A.D.. The community at Skellig Michael was never large – probably 12 monks and an abbot. Some time in the 12th Century, the monks abandoned Skellig Michael and moved to the Augustinian Monastery at Ballinskelligs in County Kerry on the mainland.
Chewbacca Legendary Wookiee warrior and Han Solo’s co-pilot aboard the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca who had some time on his hands decided call by and hop aboard our “starship” Marber Theres II and take in one of our Eco Cruises around the Skelligs.