Skellig Michael | Wild Atlantic Way by Europcar
The Skellig Islands are a twin presence of dark, foreboding rocky mounds, some thirteen kilometres off the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula, sitting steadfastly against the relentless pounding of the Atlantic Ocean’s waves. A popular sight and diversion for those touring the Ring of Kerry, the Islands consist of Little Skellig and Great Skellig.
Little Skellig is off limits, a stony, ghostly white home to a fabulous array of birdlife, including the largest colony of northern gannets in Ireland. However, Great Skellig – or Skellig Michael as it’s more commonly known – was occupied by Christian monks who built their settlement on a terraced shelf, 120 metres above the sea, sometime between 500 and 700 AD.
The monks fashioned for themselves six beehive cells and festooned their monastery with stone crosses. On the south peak of the island sits a hermitage and, experts suggest, around twelve monks and an abbot would have populated Skellig Michael at any one time. It was sometime between 950 AD and 1044 AD that Great Skellig became Skellig Michael, as Saint Michael’s Church was built there around that time, as a way to celebrate the consecration of the ground as it was dedicated to him.
Skelligs View Signature Point – Wild Atlantic Way