Skellig Michael

About Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael (Sceilg Mhichil) is a dramatic and remote medieval monastic settlement off the coast of Ireland. In fact, it was one of Ireland’s earliest examples of monastic life.

First mentioned in writing in the 8th century, it is not clear as to exactly when the monastery of Skellig Michael was first constructed. Some say it was built by St. Fionan, to whom it was dedicated, in the 6th century, others that it was there from the 7th century. Whatever the truth, this magnificent remnant of early Irish Christianity is still incredibly well-preserved, having been abandoned sometime in the 12th to 13th centuries.

Visitors to Skellig Michael can still view the distinctive rock-hewn buildings of the monastery, which have been compared in shape to beehives. Among them, there are former communal areas, an oratory and even a remaining toilet building. The earliest structure there is St Michael's Church.

Part of what makes Skellig Michael such a fantastic site is its evocative nature. In particular, there is still a real sense of the simple, even sparse, lives of the monks who lived here.

It’s well worth noting that a visit to Skellig Michael involves a steep climb up 618 steps and that there are no facilities at all at the site.

Skellig Michael has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996.

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