The Skellig Islands, Skellig Michael and Small Skellig, stand aloof in the Atlantic Ocean some 12 km southwest of Valentia Island, County Kerry.
From any angle, or from any vantage point on the nearby Ring of Kerry, they are spectacular pinnacles, which have magnetised viewers throughout all history – and beyond.
These Skellig islands are world-famous, each in its own right: Skellig Michael is known throughout the world of archaeology as the site of a well-preserved monastic outpost of the Early Christian period – now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Small Skellig is equally renowned in matters of ornithology as the home of some 27,000 pairs of gannets – the second largest colony of such seabirds in the world.
A wisp of cloud often adorning the peaks of these pinnacles creates a volcanic impression! But there is nothing volcanic about these Skelligs rocks; they are created of the same 350–million-year-old Devonian Sandstone that runs right through the backbone of Kerry – from the county’s south-western headlands to the shores of Killarney’s lakes.