On a sunny morning in June, I made my way down to a waiting boat at the harbor in Portmagee from Cahersiveen. Our destination on the tour was the Skellig Islands. There are two of them. The boat only stops at Skellig Michael which also happens to be famous as Luke Skywalker’s Retirement Home. Though for Kerry Way walkers it may be easier to take a boat from Ballinskelligs as it’s not far from Waterville.
Our boat left the mainland at about 9:45. It’s a bit cool and the seas are a bit rough but I have a decent amount of sailing experience and am less impacted than others as a few are puking over the side of the boat.
My boat happened to be the first one onto the island that morning, and I was the first one off the boat. I thought it might be a good idea to get up there before anybody else to soak in the atmosphere of the 7th Century Monastery that is in amazingly good condition.
I came to the base of the stairs that go up 450 feet or so to the monastery. An official guide told me to wait for the others as we should go up slow as there are no rails. Pleading with her, “Can I please go up now. I just came back from walking in the Himalayas so no hand rails is not a concern.” She nodded and needing no other encouragement I bolted up the steps.
Nearing the top 15 or so steps from the Monastery, was a single puffin bird and he was looking right at me. “Was this an official greeting?1? Pausing momentarily, I thanked the friendly Puffin for his warm greeting. The Puffins inhabit the island from April to July each year so planning your visit to coincide with theirs is highly recommend.
Surging ahead, I was indeed the first one up there that beautiful sunny day in June. Walking through the monastic ruins alone was eerie. This is one of those places with high energy emanating out.
The housing were small circular stone structures. Incredible that these monks were out here as the island is small rocky and steep.
Drifting out to the back of the monastery, the views out to Little Skellig were breathtaking. Having Puffins all around indifferent to my presence made it even more surreal and special.
After about 15 minutes, other tourists started pouring in and the energy waned so I headed back down the stairs.
The island is made up of two peaks and I walked down into what is known as Christ’s Saddle and then up the second peak only able to go so far but there were more spectacular views. So I sat and just enjoyed this special place.
After an hour or more on the island it was time to go. So I headed down the stairs with the others.
On the return, the boast passed around Little Skellig which is home to 60,000 birds including 45,000 Gannets evidenced by the strong white color of the island.
As the boat headed back to Portmagee, I sat and watched the island the island in the distance. Grateful for this day and experience, though wondering how tough life would have been for those monks 1400 years ago.