Ireland is a very beautiful island in the North Atlantic. There are so many great places to visit and one of them is Skellig Michael or Great Skellig, the bigger one of the two Skellig Islands in the North Atlantik in the west of the Iveragh Peninsula of County Kerry. One of the most famous but also hardest to visit Christian Monasteries was founded on Skellig Michael around the 7th century and became an UNESCO Worldheritage Site in 1996.
The monastic site was developed between the 6th and 8th century and was home of the earliest monastic settlements in Ireland. It is located about 600 feet above sea-level and contains six beehive shaped huts, in which the settlements let simple lives, two oratories as well as many stone crosses and slabs. The beehive shaped huts are round on the outside but rectangular on the inside and were carefully built of dry-built corbel so that no drop of water ever entered between the stones. There was a system for collecting and purifying water developed and it has been estimated that no more than twelve monks and one abbot lived there at one time.
The nutrition of the monks was different from that of those living on the mainland. The monks went down the 670 steps for fishing every morning. The rest of the day they were praying in the church, working in their gardens and studying. Because they had less land available to grow grain, the vegetable gardens became very important. The meat and eggs of the birds became staples as well. In the 13th century the monks left the island which than became a place of pilgrimage.
The name of the islands comes from Staint Michael. The site was dedicated to him in 1044, after the death of Aedh of Scelic-Michí was recorded.
To reach the island as tourists there are thirteen boat licences garanted to tour operators each year. The trips are between the summer season from April to October. Because of the rocky, old and steep steps the tripps are not allowed during very wet or windy conditions.
I am very happy that I could visit Skellig Michael the last time I visited Ireland. It was a really great experience and definitely a special time!