Situated almost 8 miles off the West Kerry coast, is one of the most mysterious attractions in the Kerry area, the Skellig Islands.
Situated almost 8 miles off the West Kerry coast, is one of the most mysterious attractions in the Kerry area, the Skellig Islands. From a distance they look like floating pyramids of sandstone. Up close they look rugged and uninviting. After a cold and often rough boat trip, there are almost seven hundred steep steps to greet you on your arrival. The tiring climb up the steps is not for the faint hearted.
The earliest reference in history to the Skellig Islands dates back to 1400BC. During the time of the Penal Laws, Skellig Michael and Little Skellig became a haven for many Catholics whose beliefs and rights were being suppressed. The largest of the Skelligs is Skellig Michael (Sceilg Mhichil) and was home to one of the earliest monastic settlements in Ireland. These monks of St. Fionan's monastery led simple lives and lived in stone, beehive shaped huts. They would descend the 670 steps early every morning and fish for the morning's breakfast. They would spend most of the day praying in the church, tending to their gardens and studying. These huts, which were round on the outside and rectangular on the inside, were carefully built so that no drop of rain ever entered between the stones. The monks left the island in the thirteenth century and it became a place of pilgrimage. There is a fantastic wealth of birdlife on and around the Skelligs, especially puffins in late spring and gannets on the Small Skellig.
Opening Times: Boats to the Skelligs are available from April to late September (weather permitting).
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