Skelligs Rock

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The last of the 600+ steps up to the monastic plateau on Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry. ©Martin O'Grady Wailing Woman Rock on Skellig Michael with Little Skellig behind. ©Martin O'Grady The path that leads to the monastic site entrance on Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry. ©Martin O'Grady

Skelligs History


Mentions of these two majestic outposts are scattered throughout ancient floklore and early Christian history alike. The earliest reference found so far dates back to around 1400 BC! A poem tells the tale of how the Tuatha De Danann caused the invader, Milesius, to shipwreck in the area. A later reference, circa 200 AD, tells of Daire Domhain - King of the World - resting there before an epic year and a day battle against Fionn Mac Cool and the Fianna.

From this point on, the history of Skellig is very much a Christian one. The amazingly well-preserved monastic settlements still intact on Skellig Michael, date back to as early as the 6th Century.

Skelligs Rock Ecology


Small Skellig, as the second island is known, is the second largest gannet colony in the world. Other species such as cormorant, and varieties of gull also inhabit the island. Skellig Michael itself is home to a wide variety of birdlife including the iconic puffin who is strongly associated with the rocks.

Most recent estimates put the puffin population at around 4,000 and, if you want to see them, it's best to come as early in the season as you can as they migrate off the island by early June.

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