Slowest One Goes Down First! That's Me!

Trip Start May 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Skellig Michael

Flag of Ireland  , County Kerry,
Friday, June 4, 2010

Today we went to Skellig Michael, an amazingly steep rock eight miles off the coast of Ireland.   Just as at Mont Saint Michel in France, monks created a rock "home" on the highest possible rocks.  At Skellig Michael they lived in beehive-shaped huts, constructed completely of dry stone stacks.  They resided on the rock from about 600 A.D. until 1200 A.D., and Viking raiders came at least three times in the eighth and ninth centuries.

It was Liam's desire to go to the place where Jack and Annie (Vikings at Dawn--Magic Tree House series) walked up the stone steps, climbed the rope, and warned the monks that led us to Skellig Michael.  He was looking for the monk’s library—because in the book they had to get a book the monks had been copying/writing.  Unfortunately, there is no evidence there were scribes at Skellig Michael.

There are six hundred irregular stacked stone steps up to the monastery—what a climb!  The rock is nearly vertical, and there are no handrails!  Looking down is terrifying!

Puffins nest in the ground, under rocks and in holes dug into what soil there is.  They make a sound like a lawnmower when someone is too close, and they sound like a helicopter when they fly directly overhead—one buzzed us!  They build tunnels under series of rocks, so you can see them disappear into a hole under one rock and then see them through the gap between rocks, scurrying along.

The island landing is sketchy—even on a calm day like today, the boats are tossed against the tiny dock built into a tiny cove. But nobody got seasick—not even Melinda!

We’re camping along the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula tonight, backed up against another small cliff, overlooking a small harbor with rocks sticking out of the sea, basking sharks, and harbor seals.  We saw two basking sharks as we were returning to Ballinskellig by boat.  We're at a seaside restaurant with an Internet hotspot--drinking Smithwicks beer and typing while watching the sun go down over the Atlantic--Wish you were here!
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Katie on

That is SO beautiful! I remember in Sri Lanka there were hundreds of tiny steps that led straight up to a spiritual destination. People of all ages would climb up barefoot or in flip flops! They seemed to be so used to these types of rickety jaunts.

Deanna Deck on

Wow the only thing I can say is it is AMAZING!
Thanks for sharing. Love, Deanna, John, Graice and Malachi

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