We awoke to a thick sea-mist, not at all sure that it would burn off in time for our scheduled cruise around the Lesser and Greater Skellig, two rocky outliers of County Kerry in the far west of Ireland. The former is one of the largest gannetries off the coast of Britain and Ireland ; the latter has the spectacular remains of a sixth-century Celtic monastic site, in continuous occupation from A.D. 588 to 1222. On the bridge, we heard our underwater specialist being carefully guided through the mist to her dive-site, so we would at least be sure to see, at a future date, what lay here beneath the surface of the ocean. Even as our expedition leader was at work on some creative re-scheduling of the morning’s activities, however, the mist miraculously cleared and Skellig Michael, the alternative name for the Greater Skellig, was revealed in all its glory, its cluster of corbelled bee-hive huts, garden terraces, and steep pathways clear to view.
Christianity came to this part of the world at a remarkably early date.