The magnificent name Sceilig Mhichil comes from the Irish language, which is also known as Skellig Michael, meaning Michael’s rock. The rock lies 8 miles (12 km) off the coast of Portmagee in South West Kerry, Ireland. It rises majestically 714ft above sea level of the Atlantic Ocean. The rock is a geometric symbol, which was used in the 7th Century by Christian monks of the Irish Island as a place for worship, where they devoted their life to contemplate with their gods. The monks lived in stone houses, which required some serious architectural works to make them rectangular on the inside and round on the outside. Some had no windows while others perched above vertical cliff walls like beehives. The huts were carefully built, to prevent any raindrop from getting in between the stones.
What was more exiting about Michael’s Rock is that it was remarkably preserved since the 7th Century and that a settlement of the monks became a haven for many Catholics whose beliefs were being suppressed.
Its history goes way back to the 1400BC. There were other Rocks, but the Skelligs Michael was termed as the largest of all. For its ascending length, the monks who lived there, had to descend about 670 steps every early morning to perform their regular chores like; fishing to get their meals and attend to other needs. Later they ascend, they would spend the whole day in the church praying, at the same time others would be attending to their gardens while others do their own studies. This was their daily routine.
They then left Island around the thirteenth Century, hence became a pilgrimage. The Skeillig is filled with all kind of birds especially the puffins and the gannets making it the second largest gannet colony in the world.
For the first time visitors to the Monastery, it is necessary to note that you will have to climb a fleet of 670 steps to reach this sanctuary. So the visitors are advised first to know their own physical health and strength before exploring the site for security measures. This is well noted at the entrance by the office of public works together with UNESCO. This is because they are there to care about the welfare of their tourists together with that of their locals. Facilities set around the area like; café, toilets etc.
Some precautionary measures include the following:
Visitors are asked to carry protective garments against rain.
Precaution: Visitors must walk on only recognized pathways all the time.
Visitors with children must strictly be on the lookout.
Beware of falling rocks and uneven steps
The 670 Steps are usually slippery when wet.
There are steep gradients on the steps.