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Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael is a mystical rock that is just of the coast of Valentia Island abouut 8 km west of Valentia. One can see it clearly standing proud with its smaller brother the ” small skellig” equally as famous.  The small skellig is the second largest Gannet colony in the world with 27,000 pairs approx.

Let us turn our attention to Skelligs Michael. People have been travelling to the rock for years. But of late it has got a huge injection of interest with the new star wars movies being shot there. So now you have fans coming to see this natural wonder, and many are visiting as before to see the world famous monastic settlement.

Skellig Michael a UNESCO World Heritage site.



In 1996 Skellig Michael was awarded UNESCO world heritage status. Please read the reasoning of the World Heritage Committee below:
“The Committee decided to inscribe the nominated property on the basis of cultural criteria (iii) and (iv) considering that the site is of outstanding universal value being an exceptional, and in many respects unique example of an early religious settlement deliberately sited on a pyramidal rock in the ocean, preserved because of a remarkable environment. It illustrates, as no other site can, the extremes of a Christian monasticism characterizing much of North Africa, the Near East and Europe.”
Skellig Michael is only one of three UNESCO world heritage site in Ireland the others being New Grange and Giant Causeway.

History of Skellig Michael.

Skellig Michael has had many references through the ages and accounts go as far back as 1400 bc in Pagan times. It is believed that the great rock was the site of an Monastic settlement which dates back to the 6th or 7th century.

It is also reference that Skellig Michael is a destination point of an ancient and sacred line of pilgrimage places that span Europe. This line is believed to run from Palestine, through Greece, Italy, France and Ireland. This line is known as the Applo/St Michael axis,as it is believed to be known thousands of years before Christianity.

The  monastic settlement on Skellig Michael was believed to be the  home to  12 monks. These couragous 12  lived in stone beehive shaped huts high up on the rock. The huts themselves are round in the outside but are rectangular in the inside.

They were carefully built to prevent even a single drop of rain from getting in. The Monks vacated Skellig Michael in the 13th century and moved to Ballinskelligs on the main land.

Skellig Michael today.

As I have said earlier thousands descend on Valentia Island and the small village of Portmagee on the mainland to get the opportunity to climb this amazing attraction. Of course the tours are very dependent on the weather and calm seas.   The Ring Lyne of course is the perfect base for you to explore Skellig Michael, Valentia  and the Skellig Ring