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Skellig Graveyard

Skellig Graveyard

Skellig Graveyard

With the images ordered we like to send some history or background information about the locations if we can. I reread our Skellig Graveyard story when prepping it to send to Arizona and though it would make for a nice blog post! We hope you enjoy it;

Skellig Michael is the site of an old Irish monastery. It is one of the most famous and impressive sites from the ancient Christian world, which can still be seen today in its original and true form. It is a monastic site sitting on the top of a rock in the middle of the wild Atlantic Ocean. The site represents an Irish expression of the Christian search for solitude; a solitude they believed would bring them closer to God. In the sixth or seventh century when this site was founded it must indeed have been a solitary place.

The monastery and associated buildings the monks founded on Skellig were occupied for over 600 years after its initial establishment. There is no documentary evidence available to define exactly who or when the site was founded but tradition affords its creation to St. Fionan and it was most probably built around the sixth century. The site was attacked on a number of occasions by Vikings, since its establishment the first recorded instance being in 824. Sometime in the mid tenth century the monastery was dedicated to St. Michael.

It was abandoned by the thirteen century but still seems to have been used by the monks (who settled in nearby Ballinskelligs on the mainland) as a place of pilgrimage for centuries to follow. During this period it seems likely from the evidence available that they continued to maintain the structures on the island. It is most probable that they left Skellig for the winter months and returned to the mainland only occupying the monastery for pilgrimage during the summer months.

The image was taken from St. Finian’s Bay or known locally as The Glen, is nestled between the villages of Portmagee and Ballinskelligs on the Skellig Ring Drive. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty and each entry point to The Glen offers stunning vistas and winding mountain passes.

Visiting The Glen from the north, Coomanaspig Pass offers you the first magnificent panoramas of St. Finian’s Bay with its views to the Skellig Rocks and Puffin Island and its crescent shaped glen encircled by the rolling mountains and headlands of this beautiful corner of Kerry.

The area got its name from St. Finian, a man who lived in the 10th century and travelled from the Skelligs to Keel frequently to say mass. St. Finian had a monastery at Keel but the area is much older than that era. There is evidence of habitation from the Bronze Age and there are many souterrains, galtans and the remains of an earthen fort at Rathkerin.

Here you will find many ancient heritage sites with magical mystical views of the Skellig Rocks. Kilaboona Oratory is an exceptionally interesting early Christian site and to the west of the settlement is a well dedicated to Naomh Buaine (St. Buaine). It is maintained this is where the legend of The Children of Lir began.

We would love to know if you have any more information about this spot! 

The Gallery Team

(Click here link to view or order Skellig Graveyard)

Skellig Graveyard
                          The Glen, an old graveyard in Ballinskelligs, on Irelands Wild Atlantic Way