Could you imagine staying in an island for six hundred years? Well, in the 7th century, Irish Christian monks did exactly just that – they stayed in an island and made it a center for their monastic life. You’ll see all this at Skellig Michael, which in Irish means Michael’s Rock. This place had been remote to tourists and visitors for quite a long time until recently, that it managed to be preserved so much better than other equally historic sites. I
t is actually a steep rocky island on the coast of Country Kerry. The Celtic monastery found near the summit of the rock is known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a well-known monastery, but it’s not very accessible at 230 meters high. The monastery survived Viking raids in the 9th century gives a clear picture of how the monks, who lived a very simple lifestyle as shown by what look like beehive huts placed above cliff walls.
It was a popular pilgrimage destination with no permanent residents in the 1500s. It was only in the 19th century when it somehow began to be inhabited as two lighthouses were built in the area. You could see that the second lighthouse still operates, but of course there were already renovations done through the years.
As you may find yourself enchanted with how monastic life came about in this place, you will also appreciate its natural beauty for it is home to a number of species of seabirds such as the Atlantic Puffin, Storm Petrels, Gannet, Fulmar, Razorbill, Kittiwake and many others. It is a nature reserve and that is why a lot of effort has been made to help preserve it and at the same time, make it accessible to tourists and visitors.