An inspiring visit to Sceilig Mhicil: I was lucky to get out to Sceilig Mhicil 2 weeks ago - it is an ancient monastic site off the coast of Kerry that was settled by monks in 600AD untill 1100AD. It's incredible to know that these monks lived here - out in the middle of the Atlantic ocean on a sea crag- no fresh water -. (they built their own system to collect rainwater). The beehive huts they built are still standing as well as the ancient steps. These steps take you all the way to the monastery at the top. I can only imagine what peace and quiet they must have experienced here (it's difficult to sense it at the monastery as it can get a bit crowded at times). George Bernard Shaw, following a visit in 1910, described this ‘incredible, impossible, mad place’ as ‘part of our dream world’.
Boats take you out to the sceilig from Portmagee and it takes about 45 minutes each way - you get to spend 2 hours there. On the way out you pass by little sceilig which is the breeding ground for gannets - an incredible site to see! Sceilig mhicil itself is a important breeding ground for puffins, kittiwakes and other sea- birds - you see the kittiwakes balancing right on the edge of the cliffs with their chick and the puffins are everywhere as you walk up to the top of sceilig.....anyway, definitely inspiring and worthwhile and im so glad i finally got to go. Its a good idea to book well in advance as the boats book up pretty fast - and that doesnt always guarantee that you will get to go out on the day - it's all weather dependant - we went out with a guy called jo danagher- there are lots of different boats to go out if you google it.
(All photos copyright Nicky Hoefsloot)