Monastic Monks and Breeding Birds

The Skellig islands are famous for two quite different inhabitants. Skelling Michael (Sceilig Mhichíl) became the home of a sixth-century monastery to allow monks to unhook from society. Little Skellig (Sceilig Bheag) is the home for seabirds who want to hook up. Seabirds also nest on Skellig Michael, but as you’ll see by looking at the images, not to the same extent as Little Skellig

The monks are long gone, but the steep steps to the top, the beehive-shaped buildings, and other vestiges of their lives remain. We were not allowed to land on either island due to the sensitive nature of the ecosystem, but the captain circled each island twice, slowly, to give us ample time to look.

Little Skellig looks whitish from a distance, but upon close inspection, every white dot is a bird. It houses one of the world’s largest northern gannet colonies. The closer we got, the more lively the island became, with birds flying, landing, going to sea, chattering, and so on.




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