Visit the Magical Island of Skellig Michael
Wednesday, September 10, 2008 | Categories: Things To Do; Skellig Michael; Killarney, County Kerry;
Skellig Michael is a site that most don't know about until they've been back to Ireland a few times and start searching out more remote sites and attractions. It took me my 15th visit to Ireland to actually get out to Skellig Michael and it's a trip that is like no other... a remote island 9 miles off the coast, about 1.25 hours each way.
Our trip was in early September 2008 when my chaffeur, Gene, arranged a visit to Skellig Michael with his colleague Des who provides day trips to Skellig Michael from Portmagee on the Ring of Kerry. We were warned to call first thing in the morning to make sure the weather was cooperative and that Des would be going out so we decided to spend the night in Waterville, just 15 minutes from Portmagee. We did drive to Portmagee but found it a very small village and wanted to stay in Waterville instead.
On the morning of our trip I called Des and he told me we were going -- be at the port and ask for him.
Boat Ride to Skellig Michael
Once at the dock, there was one boat and we quickly found Des, though I have to admit I expected a much larger boat. We had about 10 people on this particular trip and the boat was full -- it was small and we were really thankful for the wonderful weather. The swells were a bit big but the wind was low and the sun was shining -- perfect for us!
The trip out was long -- we had no idea it was 1.25 hours each way. We would see the Skelligs but they never seemed to get closer -- until we were there. The puffins flying around and nesting, rock covered in white bird poop and the wretched smell. Thanfully this was not Skellig Michael and we circled back out to the dock at Skellig Michael.
Approaching the cement and stone dock, I quickly understood why the boat wasn't bigger -- the dock was small and we were moving up and down against another boat already docked. Anything larger couldn't get that close. Now we had to jump from our boat to the next and then the dock -- and I almost fell in as the boats began to part with the incoming swell. On land at last and thankful! Remember, this was a beautiful day!
Touring Skelling Michael
Landing on Skellig Michael was impressive, the dock nestled against the water with the huge rock looming overhead. As we walked around the path leading upward, we were greeted with 544 stone steps, no railing and nothing to stop you should you fall -- an adrenaline rush!
I stopped many times to not only take in the view but photos as well, nervously stepping off the steps so others could pass while I captured the moment. Ok, we also stopped a few times to catch our breath!
At the top you get magnificent views of the mainland and the deep blue ocean and skies -- absolutely stunning!
Even better, a tour guide gathers a group and gives the history of the island, how the Monk's transformed the land and built their homes. The guides live on the island during the tourist season which would be absolutely boring -- a few hours and I was ready for the mainland again.