Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ireland - Day 5

This was the most arduous day of my journey. The morning began early with a quick traditional Irish Breakfast (eggs, bacon [more like ham], sausage, beans and blood sausage).

All of us in our group decided that we would enjoy going to the Skellig islands. Our tour guide said that they don't often go to the islands because the weather is often too poor and it is not safe. There are two islands that make up the Skelligs--Little Skellig and Skellig Michael. The smaller island, Little Skellig is closed to the public and holds Ireland's largest Gannet colony with almost 30,000 pairs of birds. There are also seals and other wildlife that make their home on the island.

On the way back from Skellig Michael we drove past Little Skellig and all the white flecks in the picture are the Gannets.

The island we visited was Skellig Michael. After a daunty, wet and nausea producing boat ride for 1 1/2 hours we finally reached the island. It was inhabited in the 7th century by Christian monks who created a monastery at the top of the island.

Due to the extreme remoteness of the island, UNESCO discourages visitors and will only allow a little 100 people to visit at one time. The monks lived in beehive huts perched on the vertical cliff walls and to reach their monastery it was a difficult climb up slate steps they had laid into the cliff. Not all of the steps are stable and with the strong wind the day we were on the island, it was a very slow climb for me. It took me about 40 minutes to reach the top.

Skellig Michael is also a home for a variety of wildlife such as seabirds, Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Razorbill, Common Guillemot, Atantic Puffin, Storm Petrels, Manx Shearwaters.

Pictures of Puffins.

The long trek up the hill.

The view from Skellig Michael to Little Skellig.

After we arrived back in Portmagee from our trip to the islands we made our way to the city of Dingle. Dingle has only around 2000 inhabitants but has at least 100 bars. After such a difficult hike and a long day, I went to a nearby grocery store to pick up some food for dinner and I went to bed early.

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