Skellig Michael & Star wars
Fans of the iconic Star Wars films have by now seen Ireland’s most important early Christian sites on the big screen, as the idyllic and magical Skelligs Islands feature in the latest instalment of the franchise, The Force Awakens. It’s no surprise that filmmakers chose to set part of the film on this secluded UNESCO world heritage site; as Irish poet GB Shaw noted in 1910, it’s an “incredible, impossible, mad place” that’s “part of our dream world,” but what makes this sacred site so special?
Skellig Michael a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Skellig Michael was awarded this prestigious accolade in 1996 here is the reasoning of the World Heritage Committee
"The Committee decided to inscribe the nominated property on the basis of cultural criteria (iii) and (iv) considering that the site is of outstanding universal value being an exceptional, and in many respects unique example of an early religious settlement deliberately sited on a pyramidal rock in the ocean, preserved because of a remarkable environment. It illustrates, as no other site can, the extremes of a Christian monasticism characterizing much of North Africa, the Near East and Europe."
Skellig Michael is only one of three UNESCO world heritage site in Ireland the others being New Grange and Giant Causeway.
History of Skellig Michael.
One can find the references to Skellig Michael through legendary accounts which go as far back as 1400 bc in Pagan times. The great Rock was the site of an Monastic settlement which dates back to the 6th or 7th century.
It is believed that the Skelligs is the end destination of an ancient sacred line of pilgrimage places that span Europe. This line runs from Palestine, through Greece, Italy, France and Ireland. This line is known as the Applo/St Michael axis,as it is believed to be known thousands of years before Christianity.
As I have already said Skellig Micheal was a monastic settlement and the home to about 12 monks. They lived in stone beehive shaped huts. The huts are round in the outside but are rectangular in the inside. They were carefully built to prevent even a single drop of rain from getting in. The Monks vacated Skellig Michael in the 13th century and moved to Ballinskelligs on the main land.
Star Wars Fan you have to see Skellig Michael
If you’ve seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and now know the story behind this amazing site, you’ll surely want to visit! Access to the Skelligs is by ferry from the town of Portmagee. A number of boat tours make the trip from May to September (weather permitting); see Skellig Michael Cruises, and skellig Rock are our partners here at Carraig Liath House.
The trip takes approximately 60 minutes to reach the Rocks, but be sure to book well in advance. The surrounding area on the mainland is also well worth a visit – the Skellig Ring (part of the greater Ring of Kerry route) runs along the coast and offers fabulous views of the crashing Atlantic and the Skellig Islands, as does Bray Head, one of Wild Atlantic Way’sSignature Points. Also keep in mind a trip to this part of the world would not be complete with out checking out our Friends on Kerry Cliffs 2k outside the village of Portmagee.