An architectural wonder and spiritual sanctuary
Once you land on Skellig Michael you have two and a half hours to explore the windswept grandeur of this 6th century monastic settlement which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Skellig Michael’s isolation 13km from the mainland combined with the ingenious construction of the buildings makes it one of the few surviving monasteries of its kind in the world.
Once you begin the ascent of the 670 stone steps which form a 1,500-year-old stairway rising to 215 metres above sea level, the huge heritage significance of this site becomes apparent.
And the actual monastic settlement itself is truly a sight to behold. At the summit, the six beehive shaped cells and two oratories, all built with corbelled dry stone, have withstood hundreds of years of weather and invaders to stand intact and proud on top of this mighty rock.
Viking raiders and lighthouse keepers
There is ample time to take plenty of rest and truly appreciate your surroundings while the guides at the monastery will give you an insight into the motivations and daily lives of the men who built this settlement on a rock they believed to be the ends of the earth.
Your guides will also trace the rich history of Skellig Michael from the Viking raids of the 9th century through to 12th century departure of the monks for Ballinskelligs on the mainland, and the construction of two lighthouses in the 19th century.
Find out more about the history of Skellig Michael http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skellig_Michael