"The most fantastic and impossible rock in the world" - the stunning Skellig Islands
Published 21/12/2015 | 12:39
In the Wild Atlantic Way’s beautiful far South West – where the ancient Kingdom of Kerry meets wild West Cork – five great peninsulas with mountainous spines stretch miles out into the ocean.
There’s a distinctly edge-of-the-world feel to the Wild Atlantic Way's Southern Peninsulas, which have come to international recognition as a location in the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. This serene and majestic location lays claim to the rising peaks of the awe-inspiring Skellig Islands or Na Scealga in Irish.
Skellig Michael and Little Skellig encompass the Skellig Islands with Skellig Michael designated a UNECSO World Heritage Site being home to a well preserved monastic outpost of the early Christian period, accessed by some 600 steps.
Perhaps most eloquently captured by great Irish poet George Bernard Shaw who described the islands as:
"The most fantastic and impossible rock in the world: …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. The rest of the cathedral may be under the sea for all I know…An incredible, impossible, mad place…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."
As this photo gallery shows, from any angle or vantage point on the nearby Ring of Kerry, these two spectacular pinnacles, lying 12km off the coast, have magnetised visitors and locals alike for generations. There are a number of prime vantage points on the mainland which offer you clear views of the magnificent islands and allow you to enjoy and discover more of the Wild Atlantic Way.
From the magical astronomical delights of the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, to golden beaches, scenic hikes, action packed water sports, vibrant, traditional cultures all wrapped in a warm welcome from locals, the Wild Atlantic Way Souther Peninsulas offer any visitor a unique and memorable experience.
For more inspiration to help plan your discovery of the Wild Atlantic Way check out www.wildatlanticway.com, @discoverirl #WildAtlanticWay