The Skelligs and Dingle, Ireland
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 22 Jun 2022

The Skelligs and Dingle, Ireland, 6/22/2022, National Geographic Explorer

  • Aboard the National Geographic Explorer
  • Europe & British Isles

Under lightly overcast skies this morning, we were escorted by dolphins as we approached the Skelligs, the ‘twin’ islands of Greater Skellig (Skellig Michael) and Lesser Skellig. Skellig Michael has the remains of a sixth century Christian monastery with strange beehive-shaped structures. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While Skellig Michael has many nesting seabirds, it is the little brother, Little Skellig, that looks like a major seabird nesting site, as the island is frosted with guano. Little Skellig has the second largest gannet colony in the world. There are also huge numbers of black-legged kittiwakes, common murres, and razorbills, as well as the colorful Atlantic puffins. There are birds on the cliffs, in the air, and on the water. And the noise…the birds are calling, screaming, scolding, and perhaps swearing too. A lively scene all in all.

Back on the Irish mainland for lunch, we arrive at a beautiful bay, or harbor if you will, and the town of Dingle. Several options are available this afternoon: a countryside walk that ends at a pub once owned by Tom Crean, the famous Antarctic explorer and companion of Sir Ernest Shackleton; a brewery tasting tour; or an easy walk down the coast to a lighthouse. I am on the lighthouse walk, and I am happy as an easy walk means lots of time to look around and take pictures. The beautiful rock walls alone provide a wonderful garden for colorful plants and lichens. At the end of the walk, back in town, we are treated to ice cream from a local shop! I find the shop by following the trail of ice cream eaters.

And the day is not over yet. Before dinner there is live music on the sun deck and a whiskey tasting in the Lounge from a distillery in Dingle. At this point, the brewery tour folks are looking pretty pleased. They have had their barley both fermented and distilled, and I detect a bit of brogue in their conversation!

Photo caption and photographer: The skelligs. Photo by Jeff Mauritzen

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