Skellig Michael

Great Skellig , Co. Kerry

Skellig Michael
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About Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael in Great Skellig, Co. Kerry.

Skellig Michael, also known as teh Great Skellig, is a steep rocky remote island approximately 12km off the Inveragh Peninsula. From the 7th to the 12th Century, the island was a monastic centre for Christian monks and it is exceptionally well preservered. In 1996 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monks who lived on the island practised their faith in very harsh conditions, choosing to live in spartan "beehive" huts (clochans) perched on high vertical cliffs walls. There are many features of the settlement to be seen, beehive huts, oratories, grave slabs, a monolithic cross and the 13th century church of St. Michael. The community on the island was never large and by the end of the 12th century the monks had left the island and moved to the Augustinian friary at Ballinskelligs.

The Great Skellig, along with the smaller Little Skellig, is a important nature reserve with large populations of seabirds including Gannets, Puffins, Petrels and Shearwaters. Marine wildlife includes dolphins and basking sharks.

Access to the island is from Ballinskelligs, where boat operators offer daily trips. The journey takes approximately 1 hour each way.

Image © Copyright Rob Burke and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons.

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