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.

Skellig Michael was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1996 for being a site of outstanding universal value, 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.

Header photo of monastery graveyard by @StoryTravelers

Skellig Island - Photo: Tourism Ireland - Caspar Diederik
Skellig Island – Photo: Tourism Ireland – Caspar Diederik

 

See also: Ireland | Northern Ireland | United Kingdom

SOURCES & CREDITS
Header photo of Skellig Island: Tourism Ireland/Caspar Diederik @StoryTravelers
Text source UNESCO (CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0)
World Heritage Ireland