I am invoking a spoiler alert for this blog. The title however, does say it all. I have to say, the Force did awakened in me, when I saw Skellig Michael Island, jutting out from the Irish Sea when watching the most recent Star Wars. It was at once breathtaking and nostalgic. When I went on my honeymoon to Ireland for six weeks, this was one of the places my husband and I visited.
The pictures above were taken in around July, 1983. Skellig Michael is off the coast of Ireland.
“Skellig Michael (Irish: Sceilig Mhichíl), or Great Skellig (Irish: Sceilig Mhór), is the larger of the two Skellig Islands, 11.6 kilometres (7.2 mi) west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. A Christian monastery was founded on the island at some point between the 6th and 8th century [ … ] continuously occupied until it was abandoned in the late 12th century. The remains of the monastery, and most of the island, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.” Wikipedia – Skellig Michael
See New York Times article: Spoiler Alert: This Island Appears in ‘Star Wars’
The first picture is of the Great Skellig Michael as we were approaching it. The second one is of the Island next to it and looking down on the Beehive huts. It has gannet birds over its entire surface. It almost looked like snow, until a few took off and flew. The third picture is of me, looking a bit worse for ware, but proving to the world, I made it. There are Beehive huts behind me, where the order of St. Michael built their monastery. Monte Saint Michel is of the same order. You can tell they liked their isolation.
The only way to get there is by boat, unless you have an emergency or perhaps you are J.J. Abrams, you can use the helicopter pad. We, meaning I, endured 20 foot swells for over two hours. When we lost sight of the mainland, I was not a happy camper. The pilot of our boat was a 14 year old, very well trained (by her father, who was standing by).
Instead of trying to go through the swells, this girl took us on a path between them. I was green, and not with envy, I get seasick very easily. However, I didn’t toss my cookies, thankfully. A woman who was on the boat with us, was enjoying herself so much, she decided to eat an apple. Which made me even more green. The amusing part was she barfed her brains out just after her smug eating escapade.
In order to get off the boat and onto the island, you have to wait for a swell to carry you up the face of a huge concrete wall. When the water surges upwards a person grabs onto you arm and as soon as the surge brings you to the landing area, you are thrust with great force off the boat and onto the island. I felt like I would end up like a cartoon figure splatting into the concrete wall, like a Looney Toon.
Skellig Island More of my pictures.
One picture is of my husband standing near the entrance of one of the Beehive huts. The picture at the top is of some of the paths that were built by the monks. That one looks like the “cliff” that we went up I had to go on my hands and knees, because the wind was blowing so ferociously. I thought I would be blown from the top. This is when I asked my newlywed if he had taken out life insurance on me. I was especially suspicious when he had walked up this escarpment merely by leaning into the wind. Did I tell you that one wrong move and I could have plummeted into the Irish Sea? I think my husband also called me a wimp, or perhaps it was the hollowing of the wind through the nooks and crannies of the rocks and straight into my soul.
I had to back down the way I came, I was not turning around, but wouldn’t you know, a colourful puffin peeked its head out from beneath a rock on the eroded stairway and I was in heaven. I believe I left out a crucial item: I caught sight of a sign as I was coming down from the face of the rock, and it said stay out, dangerous! Humm, I should really ask my husband of 33 years about this adventure he took me on that day.
For information on the latest Star Wars, look up on IMDB.com
Also Look up Wikipedia – Skellig Michael
Last but not least, you must see these pictures. Google pictures – Skellig Michael
So I have really saved the spoiler alert for last. The last view we see in the new Star Wars film is Luke Skywalker and Rey on the Skellig Michael island. The build up to showing this island in all its glory is magnificent. My husband and I recognized it at once. If this scene does not take your breath away (other than we find Luke of course), actually going to the island no doubt will. I am sure it is now one of those pilgrimages that devout Star Wars fans will try to visit. And ironically enough, it is then centuries later that Skellig Michael island is honoured along with its spirits. May the Force be with you; especially trying to get to the island, and exploring it. Bon Voyage, or perhaps arrivederci!