Far Far Away on the Star Wars island
Updated: Jun 9, 2019
Far Far Away like the writing says at the beginning of Star Wars, Episode IV, I arrived back in Ireland with two ambitious plans. Firstly to make my sister´s birthday and secondly to meet my cousin on Skellig Michael.
My cousin was over from America and I was over from Spain so when he asked if I wanted to visit Star Wars island, how could I say no?
Meeting up with my sister and my cousin was going to be tough and almost impossible.
Flying into Dublin airport at 1AM, an hour later than planned, and driving home for a quick cuppa tae meant driving through the night to the Kingdom of Kerry with only a power nap to keep me awake. Lack of sleep can be as dangerous as drink driving so I knew there was a good chance that I would either miss my cousin if I arrived late or else miss my sister´s party if I was too tired to drive back.
Worst case scenario I would arrive down in Kerry and weather conditions wouldn't be suitable for sailing to Skellig Michael and then I would be too tired to drive back home.
10 hours driving in a 24 hour period is not advisable but at least it wasn't as long as the Berlin to Croatia drive that I once did with some friends though I was not the driver that day and at 25 hours through Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia, I do mean, that day.
I justified the near thousand kilometre round trip as being a once in a lifetime opportunity because I don't normally find myself in Kerry or sightseeing much in Ireland. I asked my parents, "when will I get another chance to visit Skellig?" I later found out to my surprise that my parents had never been to Skellig and when I met with my cousin who is originally from Kerry, he had never been there either.
Filled up on tea, I had a long run ahead of me but on mostly good roads. I slept along a coast road for 20/30 minutes and kept the window down to keep me awake but when I arrived, there was no answer from my cousin and he ended up being an hour late.
Despite a nice breakfast at the Smugglers Café in Portmagee, my second siesta was spoiled by wondering where my cousin was and if we would make it to the UNESCO site.
Onboard the Mary Francis, we detoured around Skellig Mór before landing on Skellig Michael. For those not familiar with Skellig Michael, check out these two Youtube clips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjnGRTATRdg and Space Invaders https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aC34jjzoEQ
Skellig Michael is a sixth century monastery made famous recently with the closing scene of Star Wars Episode VII and much of Episode VIII.
Unlike the CGI battles of Liam Neeson´s Episode One, Skelig is the real deal and it was fantastic to see Mark Hamil returning as a Jedi.
Mark Hamil had commented on Twitter about the difficulties of climbing Skellig and I knew being tired was not going to help. On Skellig, everyone was informed of the dangers of climbing the steep steps and of the story of two Americans dying on Skellig.
We were advised to come down on our asses if we couldn't come down easily or to to call for assistance. After meeting a woman who recommended going bare foot to feel the magical power of the island and the male/female lines of the island. I felt nothing but rocks beneath my feet.
Coming down, my legs felt weak and I knew tiredness could kill me so I arsed around until I touched the ground. 600 steps and each could be your last. Do try to visit Skellig, at your own pace and do enjoy the views from the Beehive hunts and fall in love with the little puffins flying around.
On the boat over, my cousin and his friend from Cork as well as a Spaniard living in Kerry for a few years confessed that they had never been to Skellig so I am guessing Star Wars fans will see Skellig before some Irish locals ever get the chance.
Back on the road, I took another power nap on a tourist lay-by and made it to the birthday party.
Mind your step as you go and drive safely amigos, adios, Slan abhaile.
Photos from the trip home: https://www.skelig-michael.nohemingway.com