The Skellig Rocks – Skellig Michael and Little Skellig are towering sea crags rising from the Atlantic Ocean off the Iveragh Peninsula. Between the 6thand 8th centuries, a monastery was founded on this precipitous rock giving rise to one of the most dramatic examples of Christian monasticism and a visit to the Island offers a view into the lives of an isolated and storm-lashed community of monks. Skellig Michael was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1996 and is also one of Ireland’s most important sites for breeding seabirds with over 27,000 pairs of gannets lucky enough to have made this island their home. Visit www.skelligexperience.com
Please note that access to the Island is by boat which is weather dependent.
Located off the South West coast of Kerry and accessible via a bridge over the Portmagee Channel or by car ferry during the summer season, ValentiaIsland offers visitors the chance to experience island life amidst over 600 locals who live there.
www.valentiaisland.ie The western part of the island is dominated by the barren, dramatic cliffs of Bray Head which command spectacular views. Valentia was the eastern terminus of the first commercially viable transatlantic telegraph cable. This vast endeavour resulted in commercially viable transatlantic telegraph communications from Valentia to Newfoundland in 1866. Transatlantic telegraph cables operated from Valentia Island for one hundred years.
Chat with locals in the Island’s main village, Knightstown; visit the earliest fossil (tetrapod) footprints in the world www.theringofkerry.com/tetrapod-tracks-on-valentia; visit the slate quarry and see the famous Valentia Slate which has been used in many prominent buildings including the British House of Commons in London www.valentiaslate.com or take a ramble through the Island’s lush colourful vegetation created by the mild effects of the Gulf Stream.
Or why not take a boat trip to the Great Blasket Island where some of Ireland’s greatest storytellers wrote of Island people living on the very edge of Europe, and brought to life the topography, life and times of their Island. Sadly, the Blasket Island community declined and the Island was abandoned in 1953, but visitors can travel by ferry over to this remote island and spend several hours or all day marvelling at its natural beauty and what remains of years of human endeavour. The Blasket Centre in Dún Chaoin celebrates the story of the Blasket Islanders, the unique literary achievements of the island writers and their native language, culture and tradition.