On the 9th and 10th of June, two groups of MKO staff and clients visited Portmagee and Skellig Michael in perfect weather conditions for the trip.
We had the pleasure of being accompanied to the spectacular Skellig Michael by the renowned archaeologist and scholar Michael Gibbons.
After an evening exploring the sights of Portmagee, and sampling the finest seafood and Guinness the coastal village had to offer, we arose the next morning prepared to set sail to Skellig Michael. Thankfully we enjoyed relatively calm sea conditions and excellent visibility for the 12-mile, one-hour journey. Michael reminded us that it would apparently have taken 10 hours to make the same journey by currach 1,400 years ago when the early Christian monks made their way out to claim the island for the sake of Christendom, and to act as that barrier between the known and unknown worlds.
After sailing by Skellig Beag which was hosting approximately 36,000 breeding pairs of gannets, we docked on Skellig Michael while being watched by some seals basking on the nearby rocks. Here we began our climb to the top, accompanied by Michael educating us every step of the way.
Although he’s been on the Island dozens of times and discovered one of the pilgrimage tracks a few years ago, Michael Gibbons’ enthusiasm for the place is infectious and his knowledge boundless. A great way to see sites such as these. June was an optimum time to visit as we were treated to sightings of thousands of puffins, whose eggs are now hatching where they have been burrowed under the carpet of blossoming wildflowers, before they leave and cross the Atlantic to warmer climates in early Autumn.
Over the past couple of years MKO staff have been to Inishboffin, Inishturk and the Skelligs with Michael and the trips are amongst the highlight of the year.
Michael Gibbons’ contact details and possible trips are all outlined on his website: www.walkingireland.com