Monday, June 5. We got up early and headed down to Portmagee to catch a boat out to Skellig Michael, the fourth and final World Heritage site we visited on this trip. (As an aside, I've now been to 17 World Heritage sites. Only 795 to go! Holly's somewhat behind with 12 sites -- slacker!)
Skellig Michael is truly amazing - an incredible combination of
nature, history, and geography. It's an island about 12 km off the
coast of southwest Ireland that was chosen by early Christian monks as
a site for spiritual retreat in the seventh century AD. Today, you can
climb up to the top of the island (714 feet above the sea) and see the
ruins of their monastery.
Skellig Michael and its neighboring island are also home to a bird
sanctuary, which means that the islands are covered with thousands of
sea birds, including nature's cutest bird, the puffin. It's tough to
capture the experience of circling the islands with thousands of birds
flying all around you, but the slideshow might get at it a bit.
After the Skelligs, it was back in the car for the drive to Adare,
outside of Limerick, where we stayed at Clonunion House, a B&B that
was formerly a stud ranch for raising horses, with the added bonus of a horse
graveyard in the back.
The following morning we got up and headed into the airport in
Shannon. A brief 16 hours of flying later, we touched down at SFO, tired and a
bit overwhelmed and happy to be home again.