Sceilg Mhichíl

Skellig Michael (Don Richards/Flickr, CC BY 2.0).
County Kerry
N51 46 18.984 W10 32 18.996
Date of Inscription: 1996
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Property : 21.9 ha
Ref: 757

This monastic complex, perched since about the 7th century on the steep sides of the rocky island of Sceilg Mhichíl, some 12 km off the coast of south-west Ireland, illustrates the very spartan existence of the first Irish Christians. Since the extreme remoteness of Sceilg Mhichíl has until recently discouraged visitors, the site is exceptionally well preserved.

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.

Suggested Base:

Dingle (Irish: An Daingean or Daingean Uí Chúis) is a town on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, Southwest Ireland. Dingle has a harbour and many colourful buildings within its picturesque town centre. [read more]

Tralee is a beautiful town in County Kerry with one of the best climates in Ireland. The witty and honest population is about 25,000. [read more]

Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) is situated on the banks of the River Lee in the south of Ireland. With a city population of 119,230 in 2011 it is the second largest city in the Republic, and the third largest in all of Ireland. Cork is the anglicised version of the Irish word Corcaigh, which means marsh. The city centre was originally built on marshland and boats were able to navigate into the channels which separated the many islands. Many of the wider streets, such as St Patrick’s Street, the South Mall and the Grand Parade, are actually built on former river channels. St Patrick’s Street is Cork’s commercial hub, and is known colloquially as either “Patrick Street” or “Pana”. The centre of the city forms an arrow-shaped island between the North and South channels of the River Lee. There are upwards of thirty bridges over the two channels. [read more]





6 Replies to “Sceilg Mhichíl”

  1. I’ve not been to Skelling Michael but I have seen some photos and it looks like a really interesting and picturesque place to visit. The rounded domes of those dry wall-style buildings are fascinating!


  2. The Bass Rock [in Scotland’s Firth of Forth] is a mere lump in comparison: both the Skelligs are pinnacled, crocketed, spired, arched, caverned, minaretted; and these gothic extravagances are not curiosities of the islands: they are the islands: there is nothing else. I tell you the thing does not belong to any world that you and I have lived and worked in. It is part of our dream world.


  3. This was my favorite adventure in Ireland. You take a small boat out and the ride is intense, definitely not for those who get seasick easily. When you get to the island you walk up steep stairs filled with puffins to the top where a monastery awaits. I feel so lucky that I got to experience this.


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