Next up was the Ring of Kerry with hope of getting a boat tour out to Skelling Michael. We had heard it might not be possible to land due to repairs necessitated by rock slides.
As we pulled into Portage, a jumping-off point for what could have been an incredible adventure, and parked the car a young man approached us asking if we wanted to take the tour out to Skellig Michael. Of course! I asked if we could walk around the island, but alas, it was closed off. Darn. He had the captain wait while we quickly grabbed what we might need for photos and weather protection. Assured we wouldn’t get wet, as many websites said we would, we grabbed our goods and ran for the pier.
A brilliantly sunny day we applied sunscreen in the cabin and found our way to the front where we could get unobstructed views. There are two rocky promontories about 12 km off-shore. Along the way we were treated to fishing puffins and a pod of dolphins which swam right up to the boat. That was pretty cool!
The captain took us first to Small Skellig which is home to 20,000 pairs of gannets, the second largest breeding colony in the world. Being a sanctuary no landing is allowed, though I didn’t see a suitable spot anyway.
Then we drifted around and headed a bit further on to the jagged 217m high Skellig Michael. This was cool not due to just its visual wonder or its history of being Ireland’s most remote and spectacular ancient monastery from the 6th to the 12th century, it was the location for the final scenes of the most recent Star Wars movie!! Brian Green would have loved to be there. I learned later that the movie Bill had been told about was probably the sequel that would begin on Skellig Michael with Luke Skywalker and Rey.
There are 600 steep steps set into the rock face. These are the ones Rey is ascending at the end of the Force Awakens to present Luke Skywalker with his lightsaber. What we couldn’t see are the 6th century oratories and beehive cells. Next time we are in Ireland getting to walk around the island will certainly be on my to-do list!
Upon returning to port we took a bathroom break, snacked, and then drove the Skellig Ring to absorb more stunning coastal vistas. This is an 18km detour from the Ring of Kerry. The wild beauty with the skelligs in the distance never got old.
Another beautiful beach:
After a bit of backing and forthing due to vague signage we found a place to spend the night. The first view reminded me of the Farm, an estate of my great-aunts where I spent many happy childhood days.
Another successful day exploring Ireland!