Visiting the Skellig Rocks

Skellig Michael - lighthouse, ©psyberartist/Flickr

Skellig Michael – lighthouse, ©psyberartist/Flickr

The Skellig Rocks tower on the Atlantic Ocean about 12 kilometers from Kerry County. This destination has been chosen by a group of ascetic monks as a dwelling location. They came here between the 6th and the 8th centuries in order to pursuit a closer relationship with God. Here they have built a monastery which stands even today and can be visited.

In the 13th century the monks have moved back to the mainland but kept the monastery on the island as a pilgrimage location. Later, in the 19th century there were built two lighthouses on the island which played important role in the maritime history of Ireland. Since 1996 Skellig Michael has been enlisted on the list of World Heritage sites and it is considered as an outstanding universal value.

Monastery ruins – home of seabirds

Skellig Michael is famous for being one of the most important seabird breeding sites in Ireland. There is a diverse range of species of bird colonies nesting here, on this well preserved historical site. The place itself has a special atmosphere which keeps carrying people off their feet. There is a sense of solitude in the air reminding of the monks who chose a life away from civilization, here at Skellig Michael where only bird sounds and the tossing of waves can be heard. This location was visited by a famous writer, G. B. Shaw, who described it as a mad place, a ‘part of our dream world’.

Monastery on Skellig Michael, ©amerune/Flickr

Monastery on Skellig Michael, ©amerune/Flickr

After the monks have left

The island has not been forgotten after the monks have left. Skellig Michael can be found on many Iberian and Italian charts from the 14th-16th century which proves that the others have visited it aside from the monks. The island was still a pilgrimage place even until the 18th century however in the second half of the 16th century it got into the possession of the Butler family. In the first part of the 19th century the island exchanged masters and got two lighthouses. There were other further developments made on the island such as a road along the western and southern part of the island.

Skellig Michael - lighthouse, ©psyberartist/Flickr

Skellig Michael – lighthouse, ©psyberartist/Flickr

The Skellig Rocks today

In the late 19th century the island got into the cares of the state which started to make changes. The state repaired damaged and collapsed structures and until today it keeps conserving and renovating the monastic remains whenever it is needed. Visit the Skellig Rocks and let it take your breath way.

Skellig Michael, escaliers, ©ash_crow/Flickr

Skellig Michael, escaliers, ©ash_crow/Flickr

 

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